Mushroom makes a bloody good mince!

I usually make this mushroom mince when I have a glut of mushrooms that I either forgot about or overbought from the bargain bin. Semi dried out, sad looking mushrooms are perfect for this! It’s a bonus if they’re fresh, but I’ve made this with both and it’s delicious either way. It’s an umami-rich lighter alternative to mince. My go to use for this is usually a riff on Chinese san choy bao or in a rice bowl. When I don’t have much left of this I just stretch it by adding a few spoonfuls to meals on the side.

Everything is chopped in the food processor since we have it out anyway! If you don’t have a food processor you can roughly hand chop everything up with a little more time, but definitely more love.


RECIPE

MUSHROOM MINCE SAN CHOY BAO

INGREDIENTS
600 g mushrooms (any mix really, I often use a mix of field, button and swiss, whatever you have or whatever’s cheaper)
1 large onion
1 cup leftover cooked white rice
Canned bamboo shoots, sliced (approx 225g)
Canned water chestnuts, sliced (approx 227g)
3 tsp oyster sauce
3 tsp light soy sauce
2 tsp brown bean paste* (fermented soy bean and flour paste)
2 tsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
Pepper and salt to taste


TO SERVE
Coriander
Sesame oil
Baby cos lettuce – washed and dried
Pickles on the side (optional)

METHOD
1. Heat a large fry pan on medium with a bit of vegetable or another neutral oil. Roughly halve and quarter the onion and finely chop in a food processor, then add to the hot pan with a pinch of salt and fry for 2-3 mins or until golden.

2. Add the washed and drained water chestnuts and bamboo shoots to the food processor and carefully process with the pulse function to a rough chop. Keep some texture as this part adds a bit of crunch, so some larger bits are fine. Add to the pan with the onion and saute for 5 mins. Add another glug of oil if it’s drying out then 1 tsp each of oyster, soy sauce, brown bean paste and kecap manis – mix through well – this imparts extra flavour into the chestnuts and bamboo shoots. Cook for a few minutes, then set aside in a medium bowl.

4. Meanwhile chop the mushrooms to a rough dice, in the food processor. Work in batches (depending on the size of your food processor) so the chop is even – tear large mushrooms into smaller bits for a more even chop. Do some finely, some more chunky to get variation. Be careful not to over do it as they’ll cook down and shrink. Add more oil to the large pan on medium high heat and add your chopped mushrooms and leave them, if you overmix them you’ll coax out more liquid. Letting them sit allows them to brown and set a bit of colour on the edges. The cooking time depends on your mix of mushroom varieties. I cook them until they don’t have that raw taste anymore. Should be around 5-10 minutes. 

5. Throw in the chestnut and bamboo mixture and cooked rice with the mushrooms, mix well and warm through. Add the remaining sauces and the rice wine vinegar: 2 tsp oyster sauce, 2 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp brown bean paste, 1 tsp kecap manis and some white pepper. Taste for seasoning after each sauce addition if you’re not confident mixing and layering asian sauces then do a final taste for seasoning. 

Photography by Eric Cech

TO SERVE
Spoon warm mushroom mince into prepared lettuce cups and top with coriander (finely sliced stems or leaves) and pickles on the side – chinese pickles, kimchi, takukan (yellow pickled daikon), do chua (pickled carrot and daikon) or just sweet sliced pickled cucumbers work well). Crunchy cucumber slices and lil’ red radishes are nice too if you have some handy. Enjoy!

NOTES: *Brown bean paste: Is a fermented soy bean and flour paste. If you cannot find it substitute with extra soy sauce to taste.

There’s so many ways to eat this, how would you do it?

Photography by Eric Cech

Long live Condimental! Quirky, long-life pickles, preserves & sauces curated seasonally

#NOTANAD: Condimental have been on my radar for a while now – a local Sydney-based business putting out limited edition, seasonally curated boxes of elevated condiments (they also produce their own label items). Definitely a ‘first aid kit for boring food’ as you’ll see from some of my recipes below. From vinegars, hot sauce, miso and pickles to chutneys (ones you’ll actually use, not like the shit re-gifted xmas type) and fancy finishing salts – there’s a box for everyone (they also sell single products if you just want to dip your toe in). As the runs are quite small batch, some of the really good gems are only available in the seasonal boxes!

I couldn’t stop thinking about their ‘Summer Box‘ in particular. It’s the perfect mix of special and more everyday (only in use, not in quality!) items in my opinion. The Summer Box (the fourth curated box so far) includes these condiments: a red wine ‘field blend’ vinegar from Chef Hugh Piper at Dear Saint Eloise in Potts Point, Two Good Co head Chef Megan’s eggplant kasundi (a nice eggplant chutney of sorts packed with an Indian-style spice blend and flavour), pineapple chilli chutney by Condimental themselves (this one is a banger!), red gum smoked salt from Olsson’s in the cutest ceramic thingy with a lil wooden spoon (the smoky flavour is unreal), myrtled fennel pickle – another own brand creation from Condimental. I love Cornersmith’s pickled fennel, so I figured I’d be into a version with a lil’ sumthin’ sumthin’ extra.

How the hell did I use these new found flavour-bombs? I had some sloppy (but really tasty, tasty) toasties and rice bowls in the privacy of my own home…but I took photos of my greatest hits to share here. Keep scrolling to see what was in the box, and how I used it.

How good is this packaging

PINEAPPLE AND CHILLI CHUTNEY – CONDIMENTAL
My fave condiment in the whole box so far

Ham, cheese and pineapple toastie with pineapple chilli chutney (crispy ham rind garnish)
Ploughman’s plate with pineapple chilli chutney (top left)
Close up of the pineapple chilli chutney with ham

RED GUM SMOKED SALT – OLSSON’S
Versatile for sweet and savoury use and deeply smoky.

Fig, nectarine, goat’s cheese and basil salad dressed w/ evoo olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Olsson’s red gum smoked salt
Kale stem pesto toast with a fried egg and a sprinkle of Olsson’s smoked salt

☝️See my recipe for kale stem pesto here

Country style ham hock beans (using xmas ham bone meat leftovers) finished with smoky red gum salt to enhance the ham
Smoked trout on toast sprinkled smoky salt and served with a chunky tabouli (lemon juice and evoo on the side to sprinkle on top)

MEGAN’S EGGPLANT KASUNDI – Two Good Co

A rice and veg bowl with an egg. Eggplant kasundi added for a flavour punch!
Leftover lamb, roasted sweet potato and eggplant kasundi sandwich

The products remind me of produce you’d get at a fancy grocer or farmer’s market, if you do the math (I did, haha) it’s often not as pricey.

There’s always a nice mix of condiments. The best part being that most of them are long life items, so you can take your sweet time getting through them (not that I’ve had much success with that…I only have 3/5 items left and one is a smoky salt I’m using sparingly).

I’m saving the pickled fennel for good ideas and have a lot of red wine vinegar to use before I open this special one. I will update this post with the ideas I have for using both those eventually, I promise!

Each seasonal box comes with a card like this to inspire and explain

Here’s the Condimental Summer Box in all its glory. If you want your own, be quick, as there’s only 16 left at the time of writing. Shop now.

Cauliflower stem and leaf pizza with egg

Cauliflower leaves make an excellent pizza topping

Cauliflower leaves are quickly becoming my go-to zero-waste staple. This non-traditional pizza recipe came about when I ran out of baby spinach but was craving a spinach and egg pizza. The closest thing I had in the crisper was a whole cauliflower + extra cauliflower leaves (everyone left them behind at the grocers, so I sneakily grabbed a handful and put it with my cauliflower bag hehe). I thought…I COULD USE CAULIFLOWER LEAVES!

Untitled (4)

I was going to use tomato paste on the base but decided to use kale stem pesto because I had some fresh. I usually make a big batch and keep some in the fridge, then freeze the rest in sheets so I can break off the amount I need. You can also just use readymade, but if you want to give it a go here’s my recipe for kale stem pesto.

Kale stem oesto spread on a pizza base

It’s pretty easy. Seperate the leaves and stems, cut the stems into small pieces and baked quickly to soften a bit, then pop it on a pizza base spread with kale stem pesto (my recipe here, you can also use store bought). Add a few other bits and pieces, pop it back in the oven, add your egg towards the end and there you have it! YOUR OWN. PERSONAL. PIZZA.

All the ingredients below can be subbed for whatever you have available…I just used what I had for this very last minute pizza. For the cheese go ahead an use something fancier like mozzarella or bocconcini (it’ll be better, obviously, but sometimes you just need to offload a few slices of cheese) or scale it back to the tasty cheese slices…nobody will know, not even Instagram. If you don’t have pistachios, almonds or hazelnuts would work just as well. The pizza base I tried happened to also contain cauliflower (Picasso kitchen cauliflower base – a regular base with cauliflower added to up the veg content). It wasn’t bad! I’d buy it again for quick meals like this. It was thin and became nice and crispy. I’d usually have less toppings but my slight distrust of the pizza base and hunger meant I piled it on a bit more.

IMG_20200113_131922

RECIPE

EASY CAULIFLOWER LEAF & EGG PIZZA

INGREDIENTS
Cauliflower leaves, 4 large pieces, stems attached
Pre-made pizza base
2 tbsp kale stem pesto (or pre-made pesto alternative)
10-12 kalamata olives, drained
1 tsp capers (optional – can just use a pinch of salt instead)
2 slices gouda cheese, torn into pieces (or whatever cheese you have)
100g pistachios, shelled and chopped
1 large egg
Salt and pepper, to taste

METHOD
1. Pre-heat a fan forced oven to 180°C. Rinse and trim the cauliflower leaves. Pat dry. Line a large oven tray with baking paper and set aside.

2. Pull leaves off cauliflower stems, keeping leaves and stems seperate. Tear the leaves into bite sized pieces. Chop stems into 1cm pieces, halving any large ones, then pop onto your lined baking tray with a drizzle of olive oil and 1 tsp of capers and pepper. Toss to coat in oil, place tray in oven for 2 minutes or till stems are beginning to soften slightly (this pre-cooking ensures they’re not undercooked at the end).

3. Spread pesto evenly onto your chosen pizza base using a spoon leaving a bit of a border for the crust edge. Scatter the cauliflower stems and capers, cauliflower leaves and pistachios on top making sure to leave an egg-sized bare circle on the middle of the base for the egg later on (one or two leaves on the circle are ok you just don’t want a mound of things there messing with the egg and popping the yolk). Top with cauliflower leaves and put back in the oven following the packet directions for the pizza base (my thin one required 8 minutes). Halfway through add your cheese on top (still avoiding the middle bare bit).

cheese

4. Meanwhile crack your egg into a ramekin so it’s easier to place it. Take out your pizza and drizzle with a little olive oil (the cauliflower leaves should be crispy, this addition of oil just ensures they don’t burn).
Carefully slide the egg out of the ramekin into the middle ensuring the yolk doesn’t break (no biggie if it does, it’ll just cook quicker). Use a spoon to spread out the egg white slightly to fill any gaps between it and the fillings. Place the olives anywhere the egg isn’t and put back into the oven for 2-3 minutes or until your pizza crust is golden and the egg is just starting to turn white on the edges (without clear bits).

rawegg

5. To serve sprinkle with some chopped pistachios, fresh basil leaves and pepper (there’s probably enough salt with the capers and olives). Season the egg with salt and pepper. Cut into 4 slices, ensuring all bits get a bit of egg/yolk and enjoy!

I’d love to hear your spin on this pizza! What did you add?

Untitled (3)

MORE OF MY CAULIFLOWER LEAF RECIPES:
Easy Cauliflower Stem Breakfast Salad

WHAT ABOUT KALE STEMS, YOU SAY?
Save your stems! Easy raw kale pesto

Supercharged Instant Ramen (feat. old mushrooms)

So late one night, my partner and I were watching a Bon Appetit video – the one where Claire painstakingly recreates a gourmet version of instant ramen – and suddenly we felt super-inspired to pimp up some packet ramen for ourselves.

We found some ageing mushrooms holding on for dear life at the bottom of the fridge. Usually I’d just throw them in with something meaty to add flavour, but I figured adding them to ramen would be a far more interesting way to use them up and extract their umami goodness.

But for any good ramen you need a good broth — and given its vital role, it’s preferable to use a homemade stock. It’s nicer than the salty store-bought versions — but in a pinch you could easily use a good quality liquid stock (with added pan-fried mushrooms), or even a stock cube or flavour packet if you really cbf.

Luckily, in the freezer, we rediscovered some frozen homemade chicken & miso mushroom stock that we decided would be an easy and tasty base. I won’t go into the detail now (of how this stock was made), but the short of it is, I’d made a regular chicken stock a few months ago, and just for the heck of it added some rich umami juice obtained from roasting huge miso-covered mushrooms. If you’re interested in the full recipe, please comment below!

From there, we got way too enthused — the resulting ramen was so light and satisfying, and although it wasn’t a thick, 24-hour tonkatsu broth, it was super flavourful for the amount of time we put into it. Enjoy!

IMG_20181202_085156_body.jpgRECIPE

SUPERCHARGED INSTANT RAMEN

Makes 2 servings. Cooking time 15-20 minutes.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 litre of chicken and miso mushroom stock (or good quality liquid chicken stock)
  • 2 bricks of instant ramen
  • 300g almost-bad mushrooms, halved and sliced thinly*
  • 2cm piece of ginger, sliced
  • Few pinches roasted ground Szechuan pepper (or white pepper)
  • 2 tsp neutral flavoured oil (like rice bran, vegetable or grapeseed)
  • Sesame oil (to serve)
  • 1/3 cup dried seaweed (miyeok or wakame)
  • 2 tbsp dried diced porcini mushrooms
  • 3 eggs

METHOD

  1. Put 3 eggs into a small pot and cover with cold water on medium heat. Once boiling turn heat down to medium-low and start a 5 minute timer for slightly set (not runny) soft boiled eggs. Once done run under cold water till eggs are completely cool to stop them cooking.**
  2. In seperate small bowls, rehydrate dried porcini mushrooms and seaweed with boiling water. Reserve the liquid from both to add more umami flavour to your stock in Step 4.
  3. Heat a medium fry pan on medium heat and add 2 tsp neutral flavoured oil. Throw in sliced mushrooms with salt and ground Szechuan pepper to taste. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes or till roasty and slightly golden. Take off the heat and reserve.
  4. Meanwhile in a medium saucepan, bring your frozen stock to the boil – adding in the sliced ginger plus the reserved liquid from both the rehydrated seaweed and porcini mushrooms. Taste your stock – if it needs more flavour add soy sauce to taste, but keep in mind when soup’s too salty you get sick of a whole bowl. Break both bricks of ramen in half (they’re probably too wide for a small pot) and drop into the pot to cook ensuring they’re submerged in the stock. Stir to ensure even cooking. Allow to boil for 3-5 minutes or till ramen has reached your desired doneness. ***
  5. Peel eggshells off the eggs and cut each into halves. To serve tong the noodles into 2 deep bowls and pour over the soup. On top of the noodles in each bowl place half the seaweed, mushrooms and 3 egg halves. Sprinkle with a dash of sesame oil to taste.

IMG_20181202_092116_header.jpg

COOKING NOTES

* If your mushrooms are slightly dried out and look a bit worse for wear we can work with that – new ones are totally fine too but I just had sad ones!

** To level up your eggs: make soy sauce eggs (shoyu tamago) the day before. This Momofuku recipe sounds great!

*** I took the ramen off when it was al dente, with a bit of bite. This is okay as they’ll sit in the stock for a few minutes while you prepare everything else, so they’ll cook further without going too soft.

Filipino With Puff: Adobo Pie and Banana Catsup

Growing up, my Filipino mum would whip big batches of chicken adobo for dinner each week. This classic mix of chicken, soy sauce, vinegar and garlic makes for a punchy flavour that hits the spot between sweet, sour and salty. 100% comfort food.

This recipe puts a new spin on that classic Filipino taste, by encasing it in a classic Aussie crust. This dish is kinda like me! A mix of my Filipino and European heritage, with banana catsup – the Filipino version of ketchup – a tropical innovation that stemmed from a WWII tomato shortage, and pairs surprisingly well with the pie.

IMG_20171113_194807-ANIMATION

RECIPE

CHICKEN ADOBO PIE WITH HOMEMADE BANANA CATSUP

Makes 4-6 pies. Cooking time 1.5hrs

INGREDIENTS

Chicken adobo

  • 1.5kg bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (thighs or whole chicken cut into 8)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar (can also use white Filipino cane vinegar or white vinegar)
  • ½-1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 10 large cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves

Pie pastry

  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Banana catsup (banana ketchup)

  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed till smooth (approx. 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup eschallots, finely diced (or brown onion)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 60ml white vinegar
  • 60ml water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon palm or brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon, ginger finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh turmeric, finely grated (1 teaspoon if using ground turmeric)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste

METHOD

  1. To make the chicken adobo filling place the water, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, sugar, cinnamon stick, peppercorns and bay leaves in a large pot. Place the chicken skin side down in the pan. If the chicken it isn’t covered in liquid add ½ to 1 cup water.
  2. Bring liquid to the boil on medium high heat, then turn down to medium low and simmer with the lid on for about 1 hour (or till chicken is cooked and juices run clear). Stir and turn the chicken every once in a while.
  3. While the chicken is cooking prepare the banana catsup. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium pot and cook the eschallots till translucent, then add the ginger, garlic, turmeric and all spice. Cook till the spices are fragrant.
  4. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute, stirring well. Follow with vinegar, soy sauce, sugar and mashed banana. Simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring often till it starts to thicken.
  5. If the banana ketchup is too thick add a bit of water to reach desired consistency. To store allow sauce to cool and transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks+.
  6. Once chicken adobo is cooked take it off the heat and allow to cool, however if the sauce is too runny remove the chicken and allow sauce to thicken on medium high heat. Next pull the meat off the bones and into bite sized pieces. Toss it with the thickened adobo sauce ready to go into the pies.
  7. Preheat oven to 220C and place a baking tray into the oven. Grease your pie pans of choice with butter (I used a medium 6 cup muffin tin). For the pie bases cut 6 x 15cm circles from the shortcrust pastry to line the base and sides of your pie tins. Brush the top edges with water. Fill with cooled chicken adobo mix. For the pie lids cut 6 x 15cm circles from the puff pastry. Place over meat and press to seal with a fork. Trim the edges to neaten and brush the tops with egg.
  8. Place pies onto a hot tray and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Serve with the banana catsup.

It’s a long one, but I swear it’s worth it! Deliciously crispy pastry, filled with salty-sweet fall-apart chicken, finished with a fresh tang from the banana catsup… As an extra tip for your effort: Make a double batch of the chicken adobo and freeze half of it for more pies later or to chow down with rice. You’ll thank yourself later!

adobopie_inpost