Food For Four

Pan Fried Pork and Cabbage Dumplings

Posted on | August 20, 2014 | Asian Recipes, Chinese | 2 Comments

homemade pork and cabbage dumplings

Our family love all types of dumplings. We affectionately call our kids ‘Dumpling Monsters’ because they love dumplings so much. We are lucky very that our local area have so many Shanghai restaurants with really good quality dumplings. Although we mostly eat dumplings out, I occasionally like to make my own simple dumplings to freeze to use for those last minute meals.

With the weather being so cold and we have been staying in quite a bit, I was able to make dumplings at home many times. I also started making my own dumpling wrappers. The first time I made it I was really surprised at how easy it is to make the dough and roll out the wrappers. Since then I have not use the store bought wrappers. But I must warn you that it is quite time consuming to make the wrappers (especially when I’m rolling out 45 wrappers for each time I make dumplings). Homemade wrappers are so much softer and they are easier to stick together so you don’t need to seal with water. I would still use the store bought wrappers for the convenience. These dumplings are great to make a huge batch and freeze for later. I love steaming these dumplings and pan fried to finish off. I recently discovered that they are called pot stickers as well. The restaurants just call them dumplings.

homemade pork potstickers

making dumpling dough

With the amount of dumpling wrappers I had to roll, I seek the help of my sous chef. To roll out the dough you need to have dowel rolling pin. I didn’t have one so I cut off the handle of my wooden spoon which did the trick.

homemade dumplings

Pleating the dumplings on one side is really easy and it looks so good too.

how to fold a dumpling

Pork and Cabbage Dumplings Recipe

Makes about 45 dumplings

Dumpling dough

4.5 cups* of plain flour
boiled hot water (roughly about 2 cups*)

Filling

500g pork mince
300g finely shredded Chinese cabbage (put cabbage into bowl and add 1 teaspoon of salt and allow to sit for 20 minutes to draw out the water)
2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
4 spring onion thinly sliced (white and light green part only)
7 dried shiitake mushroom (rehydrated in hot water)
4.5 tablespoons soya sauce
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons stock/water
2 tablespoons rice wine

Method

To make dumpling dough

In a medium mixing bowl, add the plain flour and make a well in the centre. Slowly add small amount water at a time and mix the flour with a spatula. Keep adding and mixing the flour until all flour are combined (you don’t have to use all the water). Knead the dough inside the bowl to combine all the lumpy bits together. If the dough does not come together easily the add a teaspoon of water. If too sticky the add some flour.

Transfer the dough to a slightly floured work space. Knead the dough with the heel of your hand for about 5 minutes. You should get a smooth and slightly elastic dough. Cling wrap the dough to rest for an hour.

To make dumpling fillings

In a medium bowl, add pork mince, grated ginger, spring onion, shiitake mushroom. Squeeze excess water from the chinese cabbage and add to the mince mixture. In a small bowl add soya sauce, sesame oil, white pepper, rice wine, sugar and stock/water. Stir mixture until sugar dissolved. Pour this seasoning over the mince mixture and mix and fold until everything in combined.

To make dumplings

Once the dumpling dough are rested you can make the dumplings. There is a large amount of dough in this recipe so cut up the dough into quarters. Using one quarter at a time roll out the dough to into a thick log with a 4cm diameter. Cut the cylinder into 1.5cm thick. Flatten the disk by pressing down the the palm of your hand. Using a dumpling dowel, roll ONLY inwards from the outer edge of each circle, so you maintain a regular circle. If the dough is a bit sticky then sprinkle some flour. Roll out a couple of wrappers.

Once you have rolled out some dumpling wrappers, spoon a tablespoon of the filling onto the centre of the wrapper. Fold the wrapper over and press the centre then pleat only one side of the dumpling leaving the other edge straight. This gives the dumpling a nice crescent shape.

Panfry the dumplings

Panfrying the dumplings give a crispy bottomed finish. Filled a medium or large nonstick fry pan with about one centimetre of water and a dash of vegetable oil. Assemble the dumplings in the fry pan and cover. Allow the dumplings to steam for about ten minutes. Keep an eye on the dumplings so when all the water evaporates open the lid. The little bit of oil that remain will help crisp up the bottom (add more oil if required). Serve immediately with dark vinegar or chilli oil.

pan fried pork dumplings

2 Comments

Chinese Chicken and Corn Soup

Posted on | July 10, 2014 | Asian Recipes | 2 Comments

chinese chicken and corn soup

I don’t particularly winter and do not enjoy the wild windy cold days we’ve been having. I’m thankful that it’s school holidays and that we don’t have to get up early and be in a rush to at a particular place. We are loving our lazy days chilling at home and staying in our pjs all day. During this cold weather my children have been requesting for lots of soups and congee. This chicken and corn soup is my children’s favourite soup. They love it so much that I make it on a weekly basis all year round, even in hot summer days. This soup is so delicious and so comforting but so quick and easy to make. I highly recommend using homemade chicken stock for this soup. I usually boil a huge pot of stock using kilos of chicken bones and freeze the stock for when I need it. That way you always have ready made stock to whip up delicious soup like this in no time.

chinese chicken and corn soup

Chinese Chicken and Corn Soup

Makes 4 – 6 small bowls

Ingredients

1.5 litres homemade chicken stock
250g chicken thigh fillet, cut into very small pieces
2 eggs
420g can of creamed corn
1cm thick piece of ginger, thinly sliced
1 spring onion thinly sliced (green part only)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornflour
sesame oil
ground white pepper
coriander (optional)

Method

In a medium saucepan, add chicken stock and ginger, and bring to a boil. Add the chicken pieces and creamed corn to stock and reduce heat to a simmer. Dissolve cornflour with 1 tablespoon of water. If you prefer a thicker soup then double the amount of cornflour and water. Stir the cornflour mixture and add to the pot. Slowly stirring until soup is thickened. Taste and season the soup with salt. Beat the eggs into a small bowl with a fork. Bring the soup to a boil and gently swirl the soup in a circular motion. Slowly pour the beaten egg in the soup and continue to gently stir in a circular motion until you get swirls of egg ribbons. Remove from heat. Drizzle with sesame oil add sprinkle of white pepper. To serve, ladle the hot soup into small bowls, and garnish with sliced spring onion and coriander.

2 Comments

Mandarin Picking at Watkins Orchard, Wisemans Ferry

Posted on | June 20, 2014 | Fruit Picking | 2 Comments

Watkins Farm Mandarin Picking

I love mandarins, especially the imperial mandarins. They are so very sweet and juicy. I love that mandarins have a delicious citrus fragrance every time you peel it. I especially love that they make a very convenient snack which has been great for the school lunch boxes.

We are at the very end of the imperial mandarins season at the shops and boy they are getting very expensive. Lucky for me the mandarin orchards are at the start of their season for pick your own mandarins. We made a trip to Watkins Orchard in Wisemans Ferry for mandarin picking on their opening weekend. We love going to pick your own orchards as it’s such a fun activity and the reward at the end is the getting the freshest fruits to take home.

Watkins orchard has different varieties of mandarins depending on the time of year. The season starts end of May or early June to until fruit finishes. But it’s always best to check with the orchard before you go.  At Watkins Orchard the mandarins are sold for $10 per bucket full. We weighed our mandarins at home and they were around 6kg a bucket which make it super cheap.

The drive to the orchard is very scenic but on narrow and winding road. Make a day trip out of it and explore Wisemans Ferry. Check out Hawkins Lookout for panoramic views of the Hawkesbury River. Also do what we did and catch the car ferry across the Hawkesbury just for the heck of it.

Watkins Orchard mandarin picking

mandarin picking wisemans ferry

Mandarin Picking at Watkins Farm

mandarin picking watkins farm

mandarin picking Watkins Orchard

mandarin picking watkins family farm

watkins farm mandarin picking

mandarin picking at watkins farm

Watkins Mandarin Orchard

There are three mandarin orchards in Wisemans Ferry.

Watkins Orchard
1125 Singleton Road, Laughtondale (via Wisemans Ferry), NSW, 2775
Phone: (02) 4566 3107
www.watkinsorchard.com.au

Watkins Family Farm
1006 Singleton Road, Laughtondale (via Wisemans Ferry), NSW, 2775
Phone: 0418 233 466
www.watkinsfamilyfarm.com.au

Fords Farm
1275 Singleton Road, Laughtondale (via Wisemans Ferry), NSW, 2775
Phone: (02) 4566 3127
www.fordsfarm.com.au

2 Comments

Salt and Pepper Chicken

Posted on | May 22, 2014 | Asian Recipes | 1 Comment

Salt and Pepper Chicken

Our family try to eat healthy and we seldom make deep fried food. We always believe that it’s better to make deep fried food at home since you will use better quality oil. We sometimes make exceptions for fried food, especially this delicious salt and pepper chicken. Seriously how can anyone say no to anything with a salt and pepper batter?

Salt and Pepper Chicken

Salt and Pepper Chicken Recipe

600g chicken, cut into bite size pieces
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup cornflour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon five spice
1 teaspoon ground ginger powder
2 eggs
3 cloves garlic,finely diced
2 spring onion, thinly sliced
1 red chilli
iceberg lettuce to serve
cucumber to serve
lemon wedges (optional)

Method

Marinate the chicken with soy sauce, sugar and beaten eggs. Leave in fridge for 2 hours.

In a large bowl, combine the plain flour, cornflour, salt, pepper, five spice and ginger powder. Mix well until.

Heat oil in a wok/saucepan/deep fryer. Add pieces of chicken to the flour mixture and shake off the excess. Deep fry the chicken pieces in batches for around 2 -3 minutes until golden and cooked through. Transfer the fried chicken to a plate lined with paper towels.

In a small fry pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add spring onion and chillies. Cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Transfer the fried chicken to a serving platter and sprinkle the fried garlic, spring onion and chillies. Serve with lettuce and cucumber.

1 Comment

Fruit Picking at Pine Crest Orchard, Bilpin

Posted on | April 23, 2014 | Fruit Picking | 3 Comments

pinecrest orchard

We are always on the hunt for a pick-your-own farms, but living in Sydney it usually involves a fair bit of driving. Luckily we are only just 90 minutes drive from Bilpin in the Blue Mountains, home to the many apple orchards. They call the town of Bilpin as ‘The Land of the Mountain Apples’.

pinecrest orchard fruit picking

We visited Pine Crest Orchard for the first time this year in Jan during the start of the apple season. It was also just before Lunar New Year so my family was very delighted to have fruits with fresh green leaves to display for the new year. We enjoyed the experience so much that we came back again in March. The orchard grows more than just apples as they start the fruit picking season with stone fruits in December. Depending on when you visit the orchard there are different varieties of apples, pears, plums, peaches, nashi pears, persimmons and small amounts of cherries available for picking. It’s best to call them directly to check what is available or follow their facebook page for all the latest updates.

apple picking pinecrest

Fruit picking is such a fun experience for the whole family. We don’t grow anything edible in our garden so it’s a great experience for the kids to see and learn where their food comes from. Best of all everything is so fresh straight from the trees.

apple picking

Pine Crest Orchard as well as other orchards are located along Bell’s Line of Road. The drive is really enjoyable and there are many roadside stalls selling the local produce. Since we’re in the land of the apples that also means apple pies. There are many stalls selling homemade apple pies which is worth sampling. And do try the hillbilly apple cider made from the local apples.
apple picking in bilpin nsw

fruit picking pinecrest orchard dragon fly pinecrest orchard bilpin apple blossoms nashi pears pinecrest orchard apple picking fruit picking

Pine Crest Orchard no longer provide buckets. You can bring your own bags or buy calico bags from them.

persimmons

fruit picking in bilpin

Not far from the Bilpin is Mount Tomah Botanical Gardens which is worth a visit.

Mount Tomah Botanical Garden

Pine Crest Orchard

2549 Bell’s Line of Road
Bilpin NSW 2758
Ph: 02 4567 1143

http://pinecrestorchard.com.au

Free entry
Best to call so you won’t be disappointed or like their facebook page for all the latest updates.

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