October 2007

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steamed buns

Just because I think that a month or so is long enough for a picture of a box of broadbeans.

Here are some steamed buns I made for a dinner party a month or so. They have been on the list of things to make and haven’t been because they’ve always seemed something suspiciously white and fluffy. In Japan where they’re sold as surrogate pies in 7-11’s as nikuman they’re not unlike a meat-filled marshmallow in texture if not sweetness.

They are actually quite easy to make of you’re comfortable with making bread dough. Once risen, it’s simply a matter of rolling out rounds, filling with stuffing and then lifting up and sealing. Much less fiddly than dumpling or spring rolls. The filling is a combination of hard-boiled quail egg, some shredded slow-cooked pork hock from a Kylie Kwang recipe and [racks brains] shiitake mushroom, finely minced ginger and spring onion whites.

This recipe is the one I used for the bun dough.

With the meal was peking duck. I made the peking duck and bought the pancakes but in retrospect I would have been better just to buy the duck [does anyone else habitually type dick when they mean to type duck?] and make the pancakes. Unless you particularly like having a raw duck hanging around the house. It worked but, not enough to justify the effort and I’d happily pop down to a BBQ house and not felt I’d shirked. It’s also a nice idea to wear an apron when carving to avoid hot jets of duck fat.

Dessert was… I can’t remember. No wait it was tapioca with something. Anyway the conversation was good, the wine with fine and it finished with Guitar Hero II being dragged out. Success.

peking duck

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box of broad beans

Broad beans are in season. I was reminded of this when a red faced man came in to an art exhibition I was at with a box full of them. I couldn’t understand what he was
saying, but the other people could. This made me wonder if they really did understand him, or if they’d just got used to pretending to understanding him, and that if thats what I sounded like by the time I got to double digit drink figures. There’s always a look down like they’d written down what they were going to say earlier but couldn’t find it and then a blurt. He couldn’t understand what I was saying.

If you’ve struggled to reattach the choke cable on a bike’s carburettor or tried to send a text message, you’ll like broad beans. Broad beans are like peas but for people with big hands.

The pods also have a fetching green velvet interior. This may trigger issues. The broad beans will peel once more, revealing a smaller, shinier bean.
Starting with about half a kilo of broad beans,
Remove the broad beans from their pod and boil in salted water for five minutes
remove the outer skin from 20 of the larger beans to allow the inner beans to be scattered around as decorations.
Chop the remaining outer beans.
Peel and chop an equivalent amount of japanese pumpkin into bite sized pieces and roast in olive oil/vegetable oil until soft. Allow a little browning. Mash and add to the chopped beans
Sautee half a finely chopped spanish onion and add.
Roast some pepitas in the oven and add. Pepitas are pumpkin seeds and if you were being especially resourceful, you could have saved them from the pumpkin. They add a bit of crunch interest to what’s otherwise quite soft.
Shape into patties and fry on either side.
Place under a steak.

Additional notes: Roasting pumpkin makes it sweeter, as does sauteeing the red onions, the outer bean is a little bitter so there’s your balance right there.

Extra bonus broad bean pasta sauce:
-pan fry some sliced chicken breast in olive oil with seasoning and a squeeze of lemon and reserve.
-add some more olive oil and fry large some chopped up bits of mini-japanese tomatoes with a couple of finely chopped garlic cloves and a chopped red chilli. Let them cook and reduce a little and you can pick out any bits of skin if you’re bothered
-chop up some broccolini and baby courgettes. Dunk them in the boiling pasta water for a minute or so just to take a bit of the rawness off. Add to the frypan. and stir through.
-take the broad beans out of their pod and boil for four minutes. Add to the pan and stir through.
-return the chicken, making sure you add all the collected chicken juices.
-place on pasta (the sauce isn;t that saucy so you might wnat to mix a little EVOO in with the pasta after its drained) with parmesan.