I may never buy spinach again, sweet potato leaves are sooooo much better! They are silky and delicious and don’t leaves that gross feeling in your mouth like spinach does. Plus they are cheaper and I am pretty sure you can use sweet potato leaf in anything you use spinach in. Except maybe eat it raw. That seems a little weird to me but people do it. Apparently.
I recently bought a bunch of sweet potato leaves, we used to eat it all the time when I was young and it was always my favourite Asian green. I haven’t had it for years so when I saw it at the markets I decided it was time to try and make it for myself. It’s really easy to prepare, all I did was cut it into small sections and sauté it with garlic just like you would with spinach. Only difference is it doesn’t wilt as quickly as spinach and I had to add a lot more water to help it cook.
Taste-wise it is very mild generic green leafy vegetable, there is a flavour to them that is unique to sweet potato leaf, like when you eat spinach you know it’s spinach. It is the sweet potato leaf taste, it’s subtle and quite nice (it taste nothing like sweet potatoes). The best part is definitely the soft leaves, but the stalks are pretty good too. I learned the hard way that you have to careful about using the thicker stalks. They are very fibrous and not eatable. So don’t be afraid to chop a lot of the stalk off.
I enjoyed the sweet potato leaves so much I have decide to try and grow sweet potato just so I can harvest the leaves…we will see how that goes in the next couple of weeks!!
I highly recommend you try sweet potato leaves, you can find them in most Asian grocers and I have seen them at a lot of farmers’ markets.
I was really excited to try Texas BBQ, you hear so much about it on TV the giant cuts of meat, the smoky flavour with falling off the bones tenderness. Let’s just say expectations were high!
On our way to Austin I started researching some BBQ places to try; conveniently the people of the internet have put together multiple lists of the ‘best’ BBQ in Texas. Continue reading
It’s been 5 days since I started curing the bacon (see here for part one). I have been turning the bacon regularly as per the instructions. I was a bit worried after the first day since a lot of recipes mention that it’s not unusual for a brine to develop from the salt and that’s the main reason you have to turn it – so the meat gets evenly pickled. But apart from a bit of dampness my bacon did not have any juices. I was concerned there wasn’t enough salt. After a few more days it was still the same, no brine.
I am a fan of making things from scratch because it’s always an interesting experience and a lot of the time homemade is just better. Of course some things you shouldn’t mess with because they are already perfect (hello Japanese mayo) or it’s just not feasible at home. So unsurprisingly it has never even occurred to me that you can make homemade bacon! Yes cure your own bacon and you don’t need any special equipment, wood chips, smoking device etc. Apart from pig meat and spices you just need an oven and a fridge. And the right recipe. I did some research before I started and it seems there are plenty of recipes out there where you have to smoke the bacon or hang it in a cool place for x number of days or a combination of these things. I’ve decided to go with the easiest version with just two steps; cure the meat in the fridge with salt and spices; bake the meat at a low heat for a hour or two then presto you’ve got bacon! Of course this will not have the smokey flavour that bacon normally has but there are work arounds to that which I will consider next time if this does not fail.
So the first step was to figure out what to cure the meat with. Continue reading
I do not like sandwiches, I think they are boring and I am always insulted when they are my only food option. Sometimes I choose to starve instead. It’s just not worth eating something so lame. I could go on and on about why they are so bad and how I don’t understand why people eat sandwiches. But I had to revise my thoughts on sandwiches when I tried some American sandwiches. OMG they were so good, the fantastic bread, thinly sliced meats, fresh crispy lettuce and the perfect amount of sauce. I never thought I could crave a sandwich!
If you like broccoli as much as I do then it would be pretty hard to pass up chilled broccoli soup. It sounds pretty good and I finally got a chance to try this recipe from Sassy Radish recently. Since it’s been hot I figured a refreshing cold soup would be perfect and it would be healthy too!
Refreshing yes, healthy no. You have to use so much oil to brown the broccoli so even though it’s full of vegetables it’s quite oily. I definitely did not feel healthy after having this soup. However apart from that the soup was nice, very dill-flavoured but nothing mind blowing. Note to self: stay away from soups – you don’t actually like soup. Unless it’s gazpacho.
Finally after 3 months of travelling we are back in Australia and it is good to be back! Catching up with friends, eating at all the places we’ve missed and basking in the sun, I am so pleased it’s not dark and cold here like in London right now! I am also enjoying having a home again, after 3 months of staying in hotels and AirBnbs it’s nice to finally have a place to call home. And a shiny new kitchen. The place we’ve rented is brand new and it has the biggest kitchen ever with tons and tons of bench space. It is seriously amazing.
When we got to Mexico City I started looking for Mexican cooking classes, I found various food tasting tours to markets around the city but it appears that Mexico City is not the place for cooking classes, unless you want to go to a cooking school and do a diploma. But in the end I managed to find a half day cooking class for Antojitos at a culinary institute. Antojitos translates to ‘little cravings’ and covers pretty much all the food sold in street stalls across Mexico. The location was central and easy to get to, the food sounded excellent so it all perfect except for one little problem. The classes are conducted in Spanish.
So I called up the school (Escuela de Gastronomía Mexicana) and found someone who spoke English. They said that as long as I don’t have a problem with the class being in Spanish they don’t have a problem with me joining in.
Alright! So I signed up and rocked up to the class the next day. There were seven of us in the class and we were given photocopies of the ingredients for each dish with blank areas to write notes and the instructions. I wasn’t too worried at that point, I could make notes as I go and google translate the ingredients at home later. The class started with the instructor giving what I assume to be an introduction to Antojitos. The only bit I managed to catch is Antojitos is not Spanish tapas. I’ve done a bit of Spanish on and off but I barely know enough for basic small talk so this was just all going over my head. But I expected that so it was not a problem.
But then everyone started taking lots of notes and I realised that the introduction was over and the instructor was giving instructions on how to make each of the dishes. What do I do? What if we got to end of the instructions and we were expected to just start cooking? What have I done?! Continue reading