Holiday in Granada

I brought back a lot of photos from Spain as I promised before I went to Spain. In total I took 575 photos but as you can imagine it’s taken me some time to sort and edit everything. In this blog post there are some of the photos we took in Granada, Spain, but in the next blog I will share photos we took in Madrid.

This was my first time been to Spain and we absolutely loved Granada. The weather there is awesome and the tapas are amazing, especially as they are free! I read Granada is not famous for food but it’s the only city in Spain that still serves tapas for free. Most of the tapas bar sell small size beers for 1 to 2 euros but the bar man will service tapas and each round of tapas is different. But it’s all tasty. You can use a little bit of money to plan a “tapas trip” in Granada. Try every tapas bar and decide which one is the best tapas bar to you.

This is my favorite tapas bar in Granada, “Cerveceria La Boveda”. The bar man who serviced us was really nice but the food was really really tasty.

Except the tapas bars, Arabic style tea houses are another cool and chic choice for your holiday. We went to this Arabic tea house to have afternoon tea to refresh and avoid the high temperatures outside. The temperature in the afternoons often approached 30 degrees, which doesn’t sound hot but we live in Edinburgh which although beautiful is often cold, windy and/or wet. I ordered a liquorice tea which cost 3 euro and Chris ordered a Vanilla smoothie for 2.5 euro.

These photos are about local Spanish people who live in Granada. I feel life in Granada is so relaxing. Every shop and restaurant close at 4 pm and city is empty at 4pm.

This is the best kebab I had in my life. I bought it from a random kebab shop on the street in Granada. It cost me 3 euro but it’s so so so tasty. I’ve never been Turkey, Egypt or Greece that part of world so I only can compare with the kebabs one can buy in the UK. Maybe because Granada was the last city to be occupied by the Arabs but the Arabian culture and architecture is quite prominent in Granada so we were treated to great middle eastern kebabs as well as teas.

This is “Basilica De Ntra Sra De Las Angustias”. A very beautiful church in the city centre of Granada. The outside of this church looks very ordinary. But the inside of the church looks amazing. The decorations are gorgeous, it’s not hard to tell that Spanish people are very religious from the gorgeous decorations of the church. This church is very popular and it’s always full of people.

I think this church open at morning and close around 1:00 afternoon and reopen again after 6 pm. I can’t tell you if this information is right because this church didn’t have any English information about opening times and I asked random local Spanish people when the church will open again today. A lady used her fingers to indicate “6” to me. Then she just talked a lot of Spanish to me but I only can understand uno, dos in Spanish…lol This is another big problem about travel in Spain. It’s not very easy to travel in Spain if you don’t understand Spainish. A lot of Spanish people can’t speak English or they don’t want to help you if you speak English. But what’s the point for a tourist like me who only go to Spain for 1 week to learn a lot of Spanish? I probably won’t use it again in the future. (Come on Spanish people please learn more English. I’m a just a tourist and don’t know a lot of Spanish, please help me when I travel to spain.)

This church’s roof is so pretty. Every corner of this church is well decorated. It even has a beautiful angel stature beside the roof window.

One of our main reasons for going to Granada was to see my best friend Lorenzo who lives in Granada. He was my colleague while I worked at Sheraton Hotel. He is also an excellent Italian chef who travels and works around Europe. We stayed at his place with his lovely Spanish friend Jorge. They helped us a lot when we travel around Granada. Thank you guys so much. xoxoxo 😀

We had this “Mariscal Platter” in the “Mariscal Delicatessen” as our second day’s breakfast. From the top of the plater are Jamon, Spanish black pudding, Chorizo, morcellr, Pork terrine, salami and Salchichon. It tasted wonderful and cost 7.50 euro.

This is the other side of Mariscal Delicatessen. One side of the shop is bar and restaurant and the other side they sell a lot of meat and vegetable products. You can see a lot of local people, grandmas and housewives doing their daily food shopping there. The bar man at Mariscal delicatessen was really friendly and helpful and thank god for us he could speak English.

This is Granada Cathedral. We didn’t go inside of this cathedral. The reason we didn’t want to go inside was because we had to pay but most importantly we weren’t allowed to take photos. We like church architecture but neither of us are Catholic/Christian so there’s not a lot of point going in. Beside this cathedral there are a lot of shops. You can buy a lot of gifts for friends and family.

Tasty “Churros” with amazing hot chocolate. We went to Cafe Futbol to have this amazing dessert- “churros”. Churros taste a little bit savory and because it’s been deep fried the pastries texture is a bit crispy on the outside but soft inside. The chocolate was surprisingly thick and not too sweet too. Churros with Hot chocolate is a really great dessert. 3.30 euro for churros and hot chocolate.

Tasty fried seafood platter – 22 euro and the tapas we got. Beer- 2 euro. The waiter can speak English and also very helpful. I like the service here and also the food.

First photo is St. Nicolas Church on Albacin. The second photo is the view from Albacin. You can see the Alhambra from Albacin. I deeply feel the best way to travel around Granada is by foot. We walked around Granada most of the time which allows us to stop and take a lot of photos. It’s really easy to walk around Granada. However you do need to have pair of iron legs. lol There also have bus that you can take from Granada cathedral. The bus number is 32. Single ticket per person is 1.20 euro and the bus drive can give you the change which is so convenient.

On the way walked to Albacin we saw so many cute pets. The brilliant weather not only makes people happier but also the animals. The cat was having his siesta and didn’t want to lift his head for anything while the dogs barked at anything that moved.

It surprised me how tasty Spanish ice cream can be. All the ice cream shops have so many different kinds of flavors. All the ice cream tastes a little bit the same when you buy it in the UK but you can taste all the different ingredients in the ice cream when you buy it in Spain. I had pine seed and caramel ice cream in this shop and the ice cream can actually taste the toasted pine seed flavor with the real caramel taste. I’m not a sweet tooth at all but I love the ice cream here.

These photos were taken inside of Alhambra. Unfortunately we went to Alhambra too late so all the tickets to the main palace were sold out. Prices were 6 euros for a ticket to the gardens and 12 euros for a ticket which allows access to everywhere. Alhambra is the most popular tourist spot in Granada and rightfully so, it’s absolutely beautiful but I suggest if you want to see Alhambra properly get there early and don’t end up like us!

In the end of my Granada travel blog, I shared with you Chris’s panoramic view of Granada City. I hope you will enjoy my blog and think about traveling to Granada for your next trip. Granada is a beautiful city with tasty food and people there are generally friendly and helpful. We had a lot of fun there and I hope you will too. My next blog will be my trip in Madrid.

Wuxi Ribs Redone

wuxi ribs recipe

Recently I spent a week in Spain, which was absolutely fabulous and I’ll be blogging pictures from this holiday here soon, but while on holiday I received two really negative comments for my Wuxi Ribs recipe. I genuinely forgot to type that one needs water in the recipe, even though I did actually use it, but of course we make mistakes and English isn’t my first language.

But anyway, while on holiday two people who live very close to each other in Plano, Texas, emailed me to say I was a “sad phony”, my recipe “can’t be real as the food in the end is completely different” and that my photos were “random ones taken from the internet”. This really angered both myself and my husband who took the photos. He works as a photographer and we have the meta data to prove that we take all of the photos.

So today, here is Wuxi Ribs redone. The setting is the same but I myself took the preparation photos and we even have a photo of Chris taking the final photo (albeit it’s a really noisy photo as the ISO setting on my camera was changed accidentally).

And to the two people (same person?) who made those comments, I’m sorry I made a mistake with the recipe and I wanted to reply to your emails but neither could be replied to. I hope the comments weren’t spam.

So, after my little rant, here is the recipe again with fresh photos and typed up with water included in the recipe.

wuxi ribs ingredients

 

Wuxi Ribs Redone

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

  • 1 kg pork ribs
  • 10 spring onions cut in half
  • 4 slices ginger
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce for marinade the ribs
  • 1 cup Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Chinese dark vinegar
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 clove
  • 1/4 tsp pepper powder
  • 2 pinches five spice powder approximately
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp brown or rock sugar
  • water

Instructions

  1. Marinade ribs with 2 tablespoons soy sauce, heat up 2 cups of oil in the wok with full gas power.
  2. Cut the spring onion in half and slice the ginger finely.
  3. Fry the ribs in 180C Oil for 2 minutes and place it on a plate. This procedure is for colouring the ribs.
  4. Heat up 1 tablespoon of oil and stir-fry the onion and ginger until aromatic. Place the spring onion and ginger into a stock pot.
  5. Add all the spices, Shaoxhing rice wine, soy sauce, dark vinegar and water (enough water to cover the ribs) into the stock pot and use full gas power to boil everything at first. Once it has boiled reduce the temperature to the lowest gas heat and simmer for 1.5 hours.
  6. The water should just cover the ribs.
  7. Add the sugar and ketchup after the ribs have simmered for the 1.5 hours and keep simmering until the meat on the ribs is soft.

 

Project Food Blog The Classics, Souvlaki with Tzatzki

After I passed the first challenge I had a lot of ideas for the second challenge but struggled to decide what I want to do. My main cuisine is most definitely Eastern food but I’m also quite competent with British food (as I work as a chef here). Even though the restaurant I work serves dishes like Beef Wellington I’ve never had the chance to make it.

I also thought about doing something like roasted grouse with black pudding, a traditional Scottish main course) but because of my work schedule and the very limited time between these food challenges I couldn’t get to a butcher. Therefore I wasn’t sure what to do.

One of my favourite chefs in the UK is Jamie Oliver and I was looking through his website and I saw something called Navajo Flatbreads. I absolutely love flatbreads like pita but my baking isn’t great. I also thought about one of my favourite type of foods, the kebab, although I really didn’t have a clue how to make this. So, with a bit of research I found a recipe for “souvlaki”.

souvlaki with tzatzki

The recipe I found was again by Jamie Oliver but he used pork but from what I’ve read real kebabs should be made with lamb. I’ve always been a fan of Greek food but have never made anything Greek so this, for me, was well out of my comfort zone.

Two things are really different about my souvlaki compared to Jamie Oliver’s recipe. One is he uses red wine vinegar but I don’t like vinegar with my meat and also I used lemon juice to give the food a tangy taste.

For the tzatziki I used a recipe which I learnt while working in a fine dining restaurant in Birmingham.

I know a lot of people think kebabs is not healthy but I believe a good home made kebab could be healthy than you think if you have plenty of salad with kebabs. So I also made a sweet corn salad with the kebab. The inspiration came from Olive magazine but I’ve changed the dressing part to personal taste.

I hope you enjoy this blog as much as I enjoyed making the food but it was fun making something completely different to what I normally cook.

souvlaki
fresh corn

 

Souvlaki with Tzatzki

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients for Souvlaki Kebab

  • 800 g lamb shoulder cut into 2cm dice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon only use juice
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • Salt and pepper

Ingredients for flatbed

  • 2 cups white bread flour
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint chop finely (you can use any fresh or dried herbs you like)

Ingredients for sweetcorn salad

  • 2 corn on the cobs
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 10 cherry tomatoes cut into half
  • 1/2 red onion thin slice it
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 pinch Black Pepper

Ingredients for Tzatzki

  • 250 g Greek yoghurt
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 handful fresh mint chop finely
  • 1 lemon only use juice
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper powder

Instructions

Procedures for Souvlaki Kebab

  1. Marinade the diced lamb shoulder with all of the ingredients and leave it for a couple hours to marinade.
  2. BBQ it or use griddle pan to cook it.

Procedures for flatbread

  1. Mix flour, salt, baking powder and herbs evenly with a fork or whisk.
  2. Add warm water and olive oil into step 1 and knead it until it’s nice and soft.
  3. Leave it with cling film or wet tea towel cover on top to allow it relax for 20~30 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into 5~6 equal-sized balls, then flatten them with your hands and keep each flatbread about 1cm in thickness.
  5. BBQ the flatbread or cook them in a dry frying pan. It’s cooked when you see both side has nice light brown colour on it. I used a griddle pan as I love the griddle marks it leaves but also the taste.

Procedures for sweetcorn salad

  1. Cook the corn in boiling water with 1 tablespoon butter and ½ tablespoon salt for 10 minutes. Slice from the cob.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together and leave it on aside at least 15 minutes before you serve.

Procedures for Tzatzki

  1. Cut the cucumber in half lengthways and remove seeds with a small teaspoon, as illustrated below.
  2. Grate the cucumber first and place it into a colander. Sprinkle a good pinch of salt on it and mix evenly. Leave it aside for at least 30 minutes and squeeze out as much water as you can. Throw the water away and put the cucumber into a clean bowl.
  3. Grate the garlic and add it into step 1.
  4. Mix all the ingredients together and it’s ready to serve.

 

PFB – Ready, Set, Blog!

Ideas Behind This Blog

In February 2010 I decided I wanted to start a food blog with a view to meeting and sharing recipes with other food bloggers from all over the world. I come from a very cosmopolitan country and have met a number of different people in different situations but I’ve never had an opportunity to share recipes before now.

To explain why I haven’t been able to share before let me explain my background. I come from Taiwan and was born in Taipei where I lived for the first 25 years of my life. I studied at one of the top food colleges in the country but the chef scene in Taiwan is very male dominated. Essentially, if you’re a woman, you won’t be a chef. Although I am highly trained in Western cuisine, I simply can’t go anywhere working as a chef in Taiwan.

There are three main reasons behind my blog:

1. To meet people.

I love meeting people, to share people’s experiences, to learn and care about people

2. To share recipes.

Taiwan has a very diverse food culture which many people are completely unaware of. A lot of our cuisine originates from China but over the decades a lot of these dishes have evolved.

3. To prove that authentic Eastern food can be cooked at home.

There are many so called expert Chinese or Taiwanese chefs on the TV but often their food has no relation to the original dish. I watch chefs cook drunken chicken soaked in Shaoshing rice wine or a Taiwanese night market duck dish being prepared. Yes we have drunken chicken but it is served as a dry dish (ie without the soup) and we don’t have a Taiwanese night market duck dish.

About Me

Let me give you an explanation of where I come from and my background. My life started in Taipei, Taiwan in 1981 and my childhood was really miserable. My first memory of cooking was when I was two years old and my mother was passed out cold on the bed after gambling all night and I was hungry, so I tried to make myself a chocolate milk drink. My father and mother weren’t around for long periods of time for various reasons and I lived with my grandfather for a number of years before he sadly passed away from cancer.

Grandpa

However, the really great thing about my childhood was living with my grandfather. I absolutely loved him and he could cook really really well (in fact a lot of recipes on this blog are influenced by what he cooked for me when I was a child).

I remember the first time I met my grandfather was after my parents broke up. My mother moved to Japan and my father was busy doing his own things and I saw him in the kitchen. The first thing he said to me was “are you hungry?”. I just nodded as I was a little confused about who he was and I watched him cutting and preparing the food for me and suddenly felt really warm and secure. He made me a bowl of rice with steamed sliced pork and vegetables and it was simply the best meal I have ever ate in my life. I’ve eaten in Michelin star restaurants in different countries which were tasty, but grandpa’s food was divine.

When he passed away from cancer my life was at an all time low and I couldn’t figure out what to do. Reminiscing about my grandfather, I thought about all of the tasty dishes he cooked me and also how he taught me how to cook properly, both of which brought me huge amounts of happiness. So I decided I wanted to be a chef.

When I left high school, I enrolled at one of the top cooking colleges in the country and studied Western cooking for several years. I attended college in Kaohsiung and learned about Western cuisine and my fascination with the West ended up with me marrying an Englishman.

Moving to the UK

In 2007 I moved to the UK, wanting a break from my life in Taiwan but also to try living in a different culture, assuming that I would be able to buy decent Chinese or Taiwanese food but it was impossible. In Taiwan we have the awesome night markets where you can pick up many local delicacies but in the UK we have nothing. There are a few so called celebrity Chinese/Taiwanese chefs on the TV but their food is nothing like what I eat in my culture. I became and am still dismayed about it

These so called Eastern chefs say their dishes are prepared as they are because one can’t buy the right ingredients in this country but you really can. I live in Edinburgh and have done so for two years but the recipes throughout my blog are 99% authentic and everything was bought from Sainsburys/Asda and my local Chinese supermarket (which is a really basic Chinese supermarket).

Purpose

So, the purpose of this blog is to prove that one can make truly authentic Eastern food at home. I love storytelling and in Eastern cuisine many dishes have a story behind them. Whether it’s Donpo pork, Coffin Bread or Donkey Rolling on the Ground, everything has history. And as I will keep emphasising, I spent 25 years eating these dishes in the local markets in Taiwan, where people speak virtually no English, yet I can make them here.

I believe that because I can source ingredients to make truly authentic eastern dishes, which are fun to read and look at but most importantly incredibly tasty, I believe I can win food blog as I’m passionate food and it has really helped my life. I went from a really bad childhood to working in one of the top restaurants in beautiful Edinburgh and I hope my blog can be used to inspire people.

Stir fried Cats Ear Noodle

stir fry cats ear noodle

I can imagine what you are thinking. Oh no, an Eastern person has cooked her cat! Don’t worry, our cat Popo still has his ears. Cat’s ears noodles is an interesting dish with an interesting story behind it.

During the Qing Dynasty, one day the Qianlong Emperor dressed himself as an ordinary person and travelled to West Lake, Hangzhou. He hired a ship and travelled along the West Lake.

Suddenly the weather turned really horrible. It was raining really heavily so they, it’s raining heavily, so they had to stop of the lake until the weather improved and they could continue their journey. However the rain continued and the emperor felt really hungry so he asked the old boatman for some food to eat.

The old boatman told him: “I have some flour but I don’t have a rolling pin to make noodles for you”. When they didn’t know what to do the boatman’s daughter, who was holding a pretty little kitten in her arms, told the boatman “it’s ok that we don’t have a rolling pin, I can use my hands to make noodles”. After she had finished making the noodles, the old old boatman cooked these noodles and mixed it with some sauce and gave Qianlong a bowl of noodle to eat. Qianlong had a bite of the noodle and was surprise about how tasty this noodle was. So he asked the boatman’s daughter for the name of the dish and she answed “Cat’s ears” due to the shape looking a bit like a cat’s ear). Afterwards the Qianlong Emperor went back to his palace and he hired the boatman’s daughter to be his chef and gave her and her family a lot of money and jewellery.

There are many ways to make cat’s ear noodle. I know some people like to make cat’s ear noodle soup or just stir-fry with some dried shitake mushroom and other vegetables. But today I use broad beans and prawn to cook with this cat’s ear noodle because I love broad beans with prawn and stir-fry broad beans with prawn is also another childhood dish for me. I hope you like my story today but also my recipe.

Credits: Preparation photos were taken by myself but final photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

 

Stir fried Cats Ear Noodle

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients for cat's ear noodle

  • 1.5 cup bread flour
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water

Ingredients for stir-fry cat's ear noodle

  • 1 cup broad beans
  • 250 g baby corn cut into small dices
  • 500 g prawn
  • 1 small carrot diced into 0.5cm squares
  • 2 cloves garlic chop finely
  • 2 thin slice ginger chop finely
  • 1 chili remove seeds and chop finely

Seasonings for stir-fry cat’s ear noodle

  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

Procedures for cat’s ear noodle

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together and use your hands to knead the dough until it’s nice and smooth.
  2. Cover the dough with cling film and leave it for 20 minutes.
  3. After 20 minutes, cut the dough into 3 portions and use a rolling pin to flatten each portion individually, Use a knife to cut it into small dices.
  4. Use your thumb to press down the small dices of dough individually first and then gently push forward. You will see the dough starts curling like a shell.
  5. Boil half a pot of water to cook the noodle. Pour a cup of cold water in the pot when it’s boiling. Repeat this procedure twice and when the noodle is floating on top of the water it’s cooked. Place the noodle into a big bowl and toss with some oil or sesame oil and leave it on aside. It’s now ready to serve.

Procedure for stir-fry cat’s ear noodle

  1. Heat up one tablespoon oil in a wok set to full gas power and stir-fry the garlic, ginger and chilli first until you smell they have cooked. This will take around 10-20 seconds.
  2. Add broad bean and carrot into the wok and stir-fry for 1 minute. Pour water into wok and bring it to the boil.
  3. Once the water is boiling turn the gas power to the lowest temperature and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add all the seasonings into the wok and mix evenly. Place cat’s ear noodle into the wok and stir-fry together for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the prawns to the noodles and continue to stir-fry until the prawns have cooked.