Friday, November 08, 2013

Trying to Make a Homemade Delicious Life with Granola

On most days when I have to cook for myself and don’t actually want to cook, I turn to my blender or juicer or sometimes both and make a green juice or a green smoothie. Let’s face it, most of the time healthy foods aren’t social food. So when I try to drink some health into myself, I sometimes do it when I’m alone and when people don’t look at my food or me in disgust. The green stuff, it really isn’t that bad! When I do cook for one, eggs are often on the menu and I have learnt that bacon, kimchee and eggs are a winning combination.
I had a kitchen without an oven and barely enough space for two for about a year but now I’ve moved apartments and I have a slightly larger kitchen and an oven – a real luxury in Hong Kong since space is a premium and ovens aren’t used much in Chinese cooking. I’ve decided to try different things. The current idea that has captured my imagination is homemade granola. Now that I’ve made my own granola, I don’t know why I didn’t start doing it earlier or why more of us don’t do it. I don’t actually think it is much cheaper than a good store bought mix but it is way more fun and you get to choose all the ingredients that go into it.

I used Melissa Clark’s Olive Oil Granola as a guide but omitted and substituted where I didn’t have ingredients and left out the sugar to make a sugar free and not too sweet version of this. I will tell you from experience that this is a pretty robust recipe that will stand up to a lot of change. What I drew me to recipe was the spices and the use of pistachios which made this terribly addictive to eat, if not use this recipe for ratios and keep mixing and matching nuts, and dried fruits until satisfied. But be warned, this granola is dangerously addictive.

Olive Oil Granola With Dried Apricots and Pistachios
By Melissa Clark

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups raw pistachios, hulled
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, hulled
1 cup coconut chips
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
3/4 cup chopped dried apricots
Fresh ricotta, for serving (optional)
Fresh berries, for serving (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine oats, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, coconut chips, maple syrup, olive oil, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. Spread mixture on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until golden brown and well toasted.
2. Transfer granola to a large bowl and add apricots, tossing to combine. Serve with ricotta and fruit, if desired.

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Tuesday, November 05, 2013

85 South, HK


BBQ ribs, pulled pork, chips and slaw.

Will this be the start of a new food fad in Hong Kong? This hole in the wall on Kau U Fong is really easy to miss. I’ve walked past it a few times and even on this intentional visit, we weren’t sure if they were even open. I eat meat and I eat BBQ but I’m unfamiliar with the nuances. And since I’m unfamiliar, my yardstick is what they promise to deliver.

“North Carolina BBQ is different from what you’ll find everywhere else. It is the only kind of barbecue in which the meat itself – rather than the smoke, the pepper or the sauce is the centerpiece. Our slaw is a traditional North Carolina BBQ slaw that is unlike any other coleslaw you’ve ever had before. Ours is tomato based with a sweet yet tangy flavor that really compliments the smoky flavor of the pork.”

We had the big boi plate which came with a little of everything – ribs, pulled pork, chips and slaw.

So let’s put the meats forward - the ribs were tender off the bone but spiced rubbed rubs was a tad too aggressively salted and the pulled pork was a little on the dry side but douse it with a bit of sauce or as recommended with the coleslaw and it is good to go. Other meat plates offered were rib plates and also pulled pork sandwiches that judging from mixing the pulled pork and coleslaw on my own plate would be a good sandwich. And finally, as promised, the coleslaw was like nothing I had before and I like their version of it. Out with the mayonnaise and in with the tomato and tang, this was my favourite thing on the plate.

85 South
6-10 Kau U Fong

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Friday, November 01, 2013

Roli Roti and other Ferry Building Market eats, SF

Roli Roti, it is seriously good food in a casual setup. It is about meat on sticks in a roasting truck and about a man dedicated to his craft of butchery and the art of a mobile rotisserie.

We staked out the place early. Jetlagged, wide awake and hungry, we got there as they were setting up and way before the line formed. We watched them set up the line and just watched as the roli(s) of porchetta rolled and roasted away at the back of the truck. It is a thing of beauty. Ok, I’d admit that sounded very geeky but it was really something to watch. The truck had been driving all morning to get to the market and during that roadtrip the porchetta had just been hanging out back there rolling in the deep. The rolls of pork were in different stages of brown – light, medium and ready to be eaten. We watched the skins blister, and we watched them turn brown and we watched the fat drip down onto the potatoes. It is a very clever and economical set up and it turns out utterly delicious porchetta sandwiches. The whole set up is clever. No fat is wasted, no juices are wasted. The bread is used to as a edible glove to hold down the piping hot rolls and then used to mop up the jus on the boards, nothing and no flavour is wasted. A little salt and herbage and volia! The guys were really nice too, as I was being an annoying food paparazzi, they offered me some crackling.

Other Ferry Market Building Eats

Blue Bottle Coffee
Craftsman and Wolves – The rebel within
Nothing gets me like a runny yolk.
Boccalone – tasty, salted pig parts.
I like tasty. I like salty. I like pig parts.

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