Feb 15, 2017 by Liv Wan

Blood Orange Quinoia Salad: The best summer salad

Apr 9, 2017 by Liv Wan

Caramalised Pineapple Coconut Rice Pudding

Feb 04, 2017 by Liv Wan

Prawn and Lemon Butter Pasta

Jan 15, 2017 by Liv Wan

Chinese Fish Fragrant Omelette

Nov 20, 2016 by Liv Wan

Red Cooked Pork Belly with Lotus Root

Feb 20, 2017 by Liv Wan

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Jan 22, 2017 by Liv Wan

Thai Steamed Fish with Coconut Quinoia

Oct 20, 2016 by Liv Wan

Dan Bing: Taiwanese Egg Crepe. Delicious!

Oct 10, 2016 by Liv Wan

Stir Fried Beef with Thai Chive Flower and Bean Curd

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Pineapple Prawn Fried Rice

One of my favourite dishes when I was young is this pineapple and prawn fried rice. Possibly the most endearing memory of this dish is having the fried rice served literally in a pineapple. It’s just so much fun to see food that has been served in a pineapple rather than ordinary plates or bowls.

I’m not really a big fan of pineapple, I won’t eat it as a fruit on itself, but I really like cooking dishes with pineapple in them. These include this prawn and pineapple fried rice dish as well as sweet and sour dishes in general. I just think pineapple once “cooked” tastes so delicious.

You can also add some toasted cashews or sweet cashews to give this dish a little bit of a nutty and earthy aroma. If you have a shellfish or seafood allergy you can replace the shrimps/prawns with chicken.

I think the most difficult part of this recipe is how to dig out the pineapple meat from the pineapple. We will use the shell of the pineapple to serve our pineapple fried rice inside. I have included procedure photos with information on what to do in this article.

pineapple prawn fried rice ingredients
Procedures for how to dig out the pineapple meat:
1. Take a whole pineapple
pineapple prawn fried rice
2. Slice the pineapple along the middle
pineapple prawn fried rice
pineapple prawn fried rice
3. Cut around the inside of edge of the pineapple in a square pattern
pineapple prawn fried rice
pineapple prawn fried rice
pineapple prawn fried rice
4. It’s easiest if you cut out the pineapple meat in square or rectangular sections. This method is much tidier
pineapple prawn fried rice
5. Pineapple meat has been cut-out. You may need to pull the meat out by hand but this is perfectly fine.
 

Pineapple Prawn Fried Rice

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 25 pcs prawns peel, de-vein and clean
  • 800 g pineapple 1 small whole pineapple including skin, head, etc
  • 450 g rice cold or leftover
  • 2 spring onions keep all parts
  • 100 g Frozen peas and sweetcorn
  • 100 g carrot small diced
  • 4 eggs large

Seasonings

  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce
  • Salt to taste

Marinade for prawns

  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1 tsp rice wine
  • 1/4 tsp coarse black pepper

Instructions

  1. Marinade prawns with marinade for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Mix 3 eggs yolks with cold rice and leave aside.
  3. Beat the other egg, egg whites and leave aside.
  4. Cut pineapple into half and dig out the pineapple, then cut the pineapple meat into small dices.
  5. Boil water in a small saucepan and cook carrots until al-dente and add peas and sweet corn to finish. Drain the water and leave aside.
  6. Heat up a little bit of oil in a wok and stir-fry onions first until they are soft. Then add pineapple to stir-fry for 20 seconds.
  7. Add prawns and stir-fry until it starts to change to a red colour. Cook until prawns have completely turned red in colour then place on a plate and leave them aside.
  8. Clean the wok and dry it. Heat up 1 tablespoon of oil and stir-fry the green part of the spring onion first until the fragrance comes out.
  9. Add beaten eggs and stir-fry it like scramble eggs. When you see the eggs still half runny, add rice and stir-fry it. Use a wooden spoon to gently press the rice and mix up to try to loose any lumps in the rice.
  10. Add white part of spring onion and vegetables (carrot, sweet corn and peas) then keep stir-frying for another 30 seconds.
  11. Add prawns and pineapple back in the wok and stir-fry for a further 20 seconds.
  12. Add salt and soy sauce into rice and stir-fry for another 20 seconds. Ready.

Squid salad with Taiwanese five-flavour sauce

Salad is always one of the best foods to eat during the summer time. In fact salad is great to eat anytime of the year but one of my favourite summer dishes is this squid salad with Taiwanese five-flavour sauce (五味醬). My husband is only now really warming to salad in his mid thirties but I made this the other day and everyone, my daughter included, loved it.

Taiwanese five-flavour sauce is a popular dipping sauce for seafood in Taiwan. Taiwanese people serve this sauce with raw oysters, cooked prawns, cooked squid, octopus and mussels. You will see this sauce in every seafood restaurant in Taiwan.

This five-flavour sauce as the name suggests embraces five different flavours; sour, sweet, bitter, spicy and pungent. I added some olive oil to this recipe because I hope people can use this sauce as a salad dressing rather than just a dipping sauce. You can adjust the amount of seasonings as per your personal preference. I found the kitchen I got from the supermarkets here in the UK is quite sour so sometimes I will add a little extra sugar to make this sauce sweeter. You can replace the vinegar with rice vinegar, sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar as you wish.

If you are not sure about cross-cutting the squid or you think it’s simply too much hassle or will take too long, then cut the squid into rings or simply dice it. Any method is complete fine. Cooking should be both enjoyable and free and you should never be bounded by a recipe. When I worked as a fine dining chef we were bound by recipes, and that was fine for that cooking scenario, but in my personal cooking I like to improvise a lot. That way rather than eating someone else’s preference you’re discovering your own.

Also if you don’t like boiled or blanched squid, then you can try to chargrill the squid.

I hope you like this simple, quick and delicious salad dish from my home country Taiwan.

 

A little bit of an update about my life:

I’m now working on a few exciting illustration projects right now which is making me really happy but also super busy. As you’ll know I was a full time fine dining chef a few years but I’ve spent the past five years studying illustration to try to turn my life and career around. Now instead of working all kinds of awful hours with poor pay and even worse conditions I’m now able to
dictate how much and when I’m work, so I’m super happy about that.

I’m also trying to find a new home right now. Over five years ago Chris and I working not brilliant jobs and even though Chris’ earnings went up my earnings hadn’t because I sacrificed work to become a student. So right now we’re still renting and we’re looking for not only a bigger flat with more space and a bigger kitchen we’re also looking into catchment areas f
or our daughter’s school.

In case you’re not familiar with a catchment area, in the UK your child can only go to the school designated for the postcode you live in. The small block of flats we live in is fine but the nearest primary school is in Muirhouse which is a really god awful area. Have you ever watched Trainspotting? Well Irvine Welse, the author, is from Muirhouse and the ideas and story
behind Trainspotting came from Muirhouse. Statistically out of 86 primary schools in Edinburgh, our local is the worst. So we need to move.

So right now I work as an illustrator during the day time but at night I’m a food writer and food blogger. So you can imagine I need a really decent size kitchen t work in. My current kitchen is the size of a birdcage so making complex dishes, the ones where you need to cook multiple things at once while having all the space you need for prep, plating etc is really difficult. As it stands we’ve applied for a new housing development being built in a good area of Edinburgh but Edinburgh is so damn expensive nowadays (easily £1000 a month for a 2 bedroom flat) we’re also considering moving just outside of Edinburgh so Amelia can have a garden, we can have a bigger property and we can save money.

So wish me luck finding a new property and hope you like this recipe for Squid Salad with Taiwanese Five-Flavour Sauce.

 

 

Squid salad with Taiwanese five-flavour sauce

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 370 g squid tube clean, wash and cross-cut
  • 140 g broccoli cut into small florets
  • 6 babycorn cut into half
  • 6 cherry tomatoes cut into half

Ingredients for five-flavour sauce

  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp black vinegar
  • 1 tsp ginger finely chop
  • 1 tsp garlic finely chop
  • 1 tbsp coriander finely chop

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients for five-flavour sauce in a small bowl and leave it aside for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Boil some water in a saucepan and blanch the broccoli until it’s tender. Take it out from the water and cool down immediately under cold water. Then drain the water. Leave it aside.
  3. Keep the water from blanched broccoli and blanch the baby corn in the same way. Cool down immediately under cold water then drain the water. Leave it aside.
  4. Use step 3 water to blanch squid for 30 seconds then cool down immediately under cold water. Then drain the water and leave it aside.
  5. Place broccoli, baby corn, cherry tomato and squid on a serving plate and you can drizzle the sauce on top or you can just serve the sauce on the side. So people can use the sauce as dipping sauce.

Zha Jiang Noodles Recipe

Zha Jiang Noodles Recipe

Monday afternoon has officially become my food blogging day. Monday is the one day each week that I definitely don’t have work and Amelia is in the nursery in the afternoon. Right now with the summer holidays she goes to nursery on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and while recently I’ve been working on both of those days, I’m not on the Monday.

So on Mondays Chris is always out working the whole day so I play with Amelia, do some houseworks but in the afternoon I cook. If you read my last blog post you’ll see that I’ve started baking, which I’m really enjoying, but I wanted to cook something savoury for my blog. Monday is kind of like my preparation day for the week. I cook for my blog but I also cook many days worth of food for the week. For example I cooked the recipe below today but I also cooked fish pie which will last us at least a couple of days,

It feels really nice to be able to cook for my blog again. I love sharing recipes that I know and once I start university this autumn I really hope I can find time to keep updating this blog.

And yes, I mentioned university. University! One of the dreams I had as a young adult was to study at university and while I studied the equivalent of a diploma in Taiwan in cooking, I’ve always wanted to study something to do with art. Towards the end of my college course most of my class mates, including myself, applied to study illustration at Edinburgh College of Art (part of University of Edinburgh) and I was the only one to get a place on the course. I’m both really excited and nervous about starting the course but this is a real “dream come true” for me and I’m anxious to get started.

I feel nervous about starting a new course and meeting new people but fingers crossed my new classmates are at least as nice as my college classmates (well, most of them!).

Back to this blog post, today’s recipe is for one of my favourite noodle dishes; Zha Jiang Noodles (Zha Jiang Mian, 炸醬麵). My grandfather and my mother used to cook this noodle dish very often when I lived at home and I believe this was for quite a few reasons. First of all it’s really easy dish to prepare, has lots of vegetables and it’s pretty cheap. Essentially you can have a big bowl of hot delicious noodles in the same time it takes to make mash potato.

I altered the recipe a little bit by adding edamame beans as all of my family love these beans. The original recipe had things like finely chopped green beans but for preference I added edamame beans instead.

So that’s Zha Jiang Noodles, hope you like them.

Zha Jiang Noodles Recipe

 

Zha Jiang Noodles Recipe

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • dry noodles no exact amount
  • 200 g pork mince or beef mince
  • 120 g bean sprouts
  • 1 carrot
  • 6 pcs dried bean curd finely chopped, you can find it in Asian supermarkets
  • 1 bowl edamame beans
  • 2 tbsp shallots finely chopped
  • 3 spring onions

Seasonings

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp corn flour
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp sweet bean sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp chili bean sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sugar

Instructions

  1. Boil a big pot of water and blanch the carrot and bean sprouts. Use the same water to cook the noodles. Once the noodles are cooked, refresh in cold water and toss some oil on the noodles to prevent the noodles sticking together.
  2. Heat up two tablespoons of oil in a wok and saute the spring onions and shallots until soft.
  3. Keep the stove at full power and add the pork mince until cooked (the mince should turn white). Add dried bean curd and stir fry for another 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add sweet bean sauce and chilli bean sauce, stir fry for another 3 minutes. Add edamame beans (optional), water, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar. Mix evenly.
  5. Mix corn flour with a couple tablespoons of cold water and add into step 4 and mix evenly. Cook for another couple minutes and it’s ready to serve.
  6. Serve with noodle, bean sprout and carrot.

 

Zha Jiang Noodles Recipe

Coriander Chili Beef Mince

Coriander Chili Beef Mince

When I was a child coriander chili beef mince was one of my favourite dishes. It’s a very popular dish within my family and my mother and grandmother used to cook this dish often. I always pigged out on this coriander chili beef mince with a big bowl of rice and my grandmother always felt really proud I loved it so much. My grandmother loves cooking for people and is happy when people walk away from the table feeling pregnant from eating.

Coriander is also known in the Far East as “Chinese parsley”. We use a lot of coriander in our dishes in Taiwan. Coriander has a special fragrance and the taste can really enhance the flavour of the fish.

I had bit of a problem making this dish though. British Supermarkets only sell chopped coriander but in China and Taiwan we can buy whole stalks of coriander. For us the stalks/roots have the most flavour so while this dish has a coriander taste it’s not as strong as I would have liked. So as compensation I added a small amount of celery diced really small to enhance the flavour.

Before service you can deep fry some shredded sweet potato for garnish for this dish. The colour alone of the sweet potato makes this dish look a lot better and it tastes really great.  You can also use Chinese celery instead of coriander if you have problem finding coriander.

Here is another tip to make this dish even more delicious. Don’t use packet mince from a supermarket. I bought rib eye steak (or you can use sirloin steak) and froze it for 40 minutes to 1 hour. The meat will be a little bit hard but not “frozen” hard. Shred the steak first then chop really really finely. Steak chopped up always tastes so much better than mince although it’s really up to you if you want to do this or not.

coriander chili beef mince

 

Coriander Chili Beef Mince

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch coriander stalk chop finely
  • 400 g rib eye steak or sirloin stake, mince it
  • 2 cloves garlic chop finely
  • 1 chili remove seeds and chop finely

Marinade for beef mince

  • 1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 pinch pepper powder
  • 1 tsp Shaoxing rice wine

Instructions

  1. Wash the coriander and remove the leaves, chop stalk finely
  2. Take the ribeye (or sirloin) and freeze it for 40 minutes to 1 hour. The meat will be a little bit hard but not frozen hard. Shred the steak first then chop really finely.
  3. Marinade the steak mince with all the seasoning and leave it for half an hour.
  4. Heat the wok with some oil until the oil is smoking and stir fry the steak mince for 10 seconds. Get rid of the oil and place the mince on to a plate.
  5. Heat the wok with some oil. Turn to a low heat and stir fry the garlic and chili first and then add the coriander and stir fry for another 10 seconds. Add a little bit of salt to season it and turn the gas to strong heat and add beef mince to stir fry it together for 1 minute. It’s now ready to serve.

 

Egg Spinach and Squid Roll Recipe

Egg Spinach and Squid Roll Recipe

egg spinach and squid roll

Egg Spinach and Squid Roll Recipe. Recently I’ve been busy doing a series of speeches in Glasgow for Chinese New Year. I was asked by www.ricefield.org which is based in the trendy Trongate building in central Glasgow if I could present some speeches as part of their celebrations for Chinese New Year.

These have now finished, spring is coming and I can now focus properly on my blog once again. I’m also going back to Taiwan for a couple weeks at the end of March which I’m super excited about.

Today I felt like making a roll and while I didn’t want to do sushi I wanted to make something that looks fairly similar.  This recipe doesn’t have a story about it but it has a delicious egg skin filled with squid, carrots and regular seasonings.

This dish is light to eat but tastes really good if you like squid.

Hope you enjoy this recipe. I’ll also be doing another Western recipe in the next couple of weeks, this time a Focaccia, so keep an eye on my site for that.

egg spinach and squid roll
egg spinach and squid roll procedure
egg spinach and squid roll procedure
egg spinach and squid roll procedure
egg spinach and squid roll procedure
egg spinach and squid roll procedure
egg spinach and squid roll procedure

 

Egg Spinach and Squid Roll Recipe

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients for filling

  • 270 g squid
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper powder
  • 2 drops sesame oil approximately

Ingredients for egg skin

  • 1 egg yolk that we got from the egg white
  • 3 eggs whole
  • 2 tsp potato starch or corn flour
  • 1 tbsp water

Other ingredients

  • 150 g spinach to wrap between the layers as explained in the procedure

Instructions

Procedure for filling

  1. Remove the skin and insides from the squid and give it a thorough clean.
  2. Cut the squid into small dices and chop up in a food processor until the mixture is fine.
  3. Add the egg white, salt, pepper powder and sesame powder and blend for another couple of minutes.
  4. Chop the carrots and spring onion. Mix with the mixture from the previous steps evenly. Leave aside for later.

Procedure for egg skin

  1. Mix all of the ingredients together and heat up a frying pan with a couple drops of oil. Fry the eggs as you would do when making a crepe (the skin should be quite thin).
  2. An important part of the procedure is to make sure the potato starch or corn flour has been mixed with the one tablespoon of water before it’s added to the egg mixture. This is to stop the potato starch having lumps.

Procedures for wrapping

  1. Blanche the spinach, rinse under cold water and squeeze out as much water as you can but don’t squeeze so much as to damage the shape of the leaves.
  2. Lay out the spinach on the egg skin as the photo below shows.
  3. Spread the squid mixture evenly on top of the spinach as the photos below show.
  4. Roll the egg skin, spinach and squid filling and cover with cling film. Roll the cling film on the counter or chopping board a few times to make sure the roll has been rolled evenly.
  5. Use a steamer to steam the rolls (including the cling film) for around 20 minutes.
  6. Once steamed cool the rolls in a fridge or leave aside. Once cooled chop into suitable sized shapes. I wanted to mimick sushi with my rolls so I chopped everything about the same size as I would do with sushi (each slice is maybe 1.5cm wide). It's now ready to eat!