Beef and vegetable rolls (Gyuniku no Yasai Maki)

I first ate this dish in a Japanese restaurant in Singapore. For this dish, the beef is used as a wrap and basically we can use green beans, asparagus, carrots or Enochi mushrooms. I thought this is a good way to have the hubs eat his greens!

I had fun with this dish, wrapping the vegetables and cooking them. The aroma from the marinate was so encouraging as you cooked the dish. Yum! Yum! The hubs was happy with the dish and ate his greens. =)

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From the bookshelf: French Women for All Seasons

Listen to me: I LOVE this book! It makes me fall in love with the French way of life, their perspectives, the cuisine and makes me appreciate the four seasons more – all these through the thoughts of Mireille Guiliano.

I first went to Paris for a few days after a work assignment in London. The lonely me roamed the streets of Paris in the cold winter and naturally, everything was gloomy, especially if you do not have a friend to talk to. I didn’t give much of a thought to this beautiful city until the following year when I went back again, that time, with my life partner in the cool Autumn.

I'm so stuffed!

Then I finally got a taste of the French cuisine, merely by just one dish. I remember as I sat that after the first mouthful, my eyes widened and my headed nodded in agreement with the hubs that it was AWESOME!

Through her thoughts, I came to understand more about the perspectives French women on food, the seasonal produce and the deep encounter with life one could have through…FOOD! The deep respect that the French have for food and its preparation earn my respect. I particularly love how the writer grew up with food and it makes me wonder how much our kids know about food these days besides fast food, buffets and food prepared using microwave oven. I read from one food magazine that some kids nowadays don’t even know how an apple looks like, apart from lending some knowledge from the wrapper of an apple pie in Macs. Scary, isn’t it? After reading this book, I told myself that when I have children of my own, they have to be involved in the kitchen, from the buying of grocery to cooking and finally to the cleaning of the kitchen. There is SO MUCH to learn from it and the discipline and knowledge involved in the culinary arts is just so beneficial to anyone!

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Tofu and ground pork patties/ kebabs

Initially they were to be Tofu and Ground Pork Kebabs (Tofu no Tsukune) from Harumi’s book but as I prepared the marinade, I found the taste rather bland and not to my liking and so in the end, I tweaked the ingredients. And initially I thought it would be troublesome to prepare this dish until halfway through, I realised it was easy.

I like this dish because the mixture of tofu and ground pork, with lots of vegetables make it a healthy dish. I pan-fry them without much oil and when eaten together with rice, it is so tasty. One thing to note though, you should spare some time straining the tofu so that it is really dry before you mix with the ground pork mixture. However, even if you do not have the time to do that, it won’t taste bad. Just that, it would not have the ‘look brown’ effect when it is cooked. Mine gave out he juices when they were being pan-fried. =(

(Updates from evening attempt) It works! This dish should look like this! It pays to persevere! Nah…Actually, that’s because the tofu has dried making pan-frying easier, giving the brown effect.

On a side note, one thing I am still trying to grasp is food photography. I find it difficult. You need certain lighting and to have an eye for positioning the dish in a right angle. And I find that you need patience to capture those images which I don’t necessary have since I want to wolf them while they are still piping hot!

This is Harumi’s recipe (adpated) if you want to try:

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