Sunday, April 18, 2010

rice cooker

Ant arrived here in Hong Kong three weeks before me. Bless him, he was cooking for himself in the tiny apartment kitchenette after the first week. Most new arrivals tend to eat out because it is so cheap here, but I seem to have trained him well on the benefits of home cooked food. He went out and found the grocery store down the road, and found a department store where he bought a wok-sized frying pan and a rice cooker.

I had no idea he planned to buy a rice cooker. But rice is his favourite food, definitely. And in the past we have often cooked rice in the oven (a method I learned from my mother). That wasn't going to be possible in the kitchenette. Ant would not be long separated from his rice!

This little gadget can take up to 900 mL (about 4 cups) of uncooked rice. It plugs in and, when switched on, takes about 20 minutes to cook the rice to perfect, fluffy grains. Ant bought a 2 kg bag of Thai rice (Jasmine, the main type sold here) and had eaten it all by the time I arrived. He does like his rice!

I have used it a few times now as well, and for simplicity, it gets full marks. It makes rice faster than I can make the rest of the meal. This weekend I decided to try using it to cook quinoa, since I know that in a pan quinoa and rice cook in a very similar amount of time.

There was a tiny bit of slightly scorched quinoa on the bottom of the bowl, but the rest of the grains were perfectly cooked and there was no burned taste. I love quinoa the way Ant loves rice, so I can see that between us, we will be very satisfied eaters with this rice cooker as our new best friend.

I served the quinoa with meatballs, green peppers, and carrots cooked in the frying pan Ant bought. (So far this is all we have for kitchen items.) I would recommend the rice cooker if you eat a lot of rice. It doesn't take up much space and it's so simple. It cooks a large or small amount of rice perfectly every time. It also came with a steamer basket so you can cook vegetables as well. In fact, you can cook the rice and vegetables at the same time. Very clever. I guess if you are only going to have two cooking items in the kitchenette, Ant's choices of a frying pan and a rice cooker seem like good ones.

Friday, April 16, 2010

brunswick stew (for the Daring Cooks)

The 2010 April Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make Brunswick Stew. Wolf chose recipes for her challenge from The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook by Matt Lee and Ted Lee, and from the Callaway, Virginia Ruritan Club.

Brunswick Stew was easy to make and very satisfying to eat! The recipes are huge and were more than enough for several days of hearty lunches at work. Perfect when served with a salad or cheddar cornmeal scones.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

tea that reminds me of home

Ant says that since arriving in Hong Kong he has not had a proper cup of tea. I have now fixed that. I think the problem was the tap water here has a very strong chemical taste to it. So I brought a Brita filter with me from London and also a big (480 count) bag of Sainsburys Red Label teabags. We have just enjoyed a tasty, proper cuppa.

I started drinking tea when I met Ant and now I am as addicted to it as any Briton. I drink tea at breakfast and tea for snack time. Tea after a meal and tea for a treat in the evening. I absolutely love plain black tea with milk and sugar, and also green tea and herbal teas. While in Canada this Christmas I discovered the Second Cup drink called "London Fog": Earl Grey tea with vanilla and steamed milk. It was like a tea latte that tasted of England.

When our shipment gets here in five weeks, we will unpack another two big bags of Red Label. I want to make some more chai tea concentrate (pictured below) to drink with mine. So we are fine for a few months. I reckon that if you come to visit us in Hong Kong, we will request tea bags!


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