Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Health Star Rating

Health Star Rating
It is a cold start for the Spring in Melbourne. I hope you all have a great week. I keep myself warm indoor and far away from the pollens which I am sensitive to. Besides, starting from this week I have a new challenge to complete. It is to improve a few packaging products to achieve the higher health star rating as possible. Well, the target is 4 stars rating. It is not easy but it is possible since I had done it before. I just need to use my ‘magic’ formulas to turn it right! Fingers crossed!

So, what is health star rating system anyway? It is basically designed to help customers easily compare similar products to make healthier choices. The more stars it has, the healthier the product is. You can find more information at

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Kimchi Recipe

Napa Cabbage Kimchi – Tongbaechu Kimchi

I would say Korean diet is not complete without kimchi, either eating at a Korean family home or at a Korean restaurant. It is a staple food in Korean cuisine. There are so many types of kimchi in Korean cuisine. Today, I am going to introduce a common kimchi called napa kimchi. It is best described as a spicy, slightly sweet, sour and fermented cabbage.

It is definitely a time commitment to making kimchi, but it can be stored in the refrigerator for several weeks. Overly fermented kimchi will become very sour. Please do not through it away because it can be used to cook pancake or soup like delicious kimchi and tofu stew called kimchi jjigae (I will post it next time when left over). 

I was first tried kimchi when I met my Korean roommate more than 2 decades ago. Later on, I learned my first kimchi from my dearest Korean friend, Sung (an ex-restaurateur). I failed a few times due to storing and temperature reasons. I have learned from the mistakes, after many times of practice, it makes perfect after all.

Every household has its own method of making kimchi. I’ve established a simple method which is slightly different from Sung’s kimchi. I would use easy ingredients that I can find wherever I live, in South East Asia or in Melbourne. Sung had no complains about it. When she came over to visit my family 5 years ago, she suggested and wanted to help me to dig a hole in my garden to store my kimchi. It likes the traditional method using the earthen jar buried in the ground. She explained that is now not common practice any more due to the limited of land and the modern kimchi fridges. This was a good advice but I told her that my kimchi only lasts for a week, normal fridge would do the job. I normally make Korean feast for the week when I make kimchi. By the way, when talk about Korean food, I really love and miss her mum’s Korean cuisine. I called it master of masters of Korean food. I was thinking of flying to Korea one day and truly to learn from her. I am sure, it will be one day.
Here finally so many years of making kimchi with old school method, I’d written my simple family kimchi for the first time.
(Note: My kimchi is a bit spicy)

Kimchi Recipe
1 large (2 kg) Napa cabbage (Chinese cabbage)
6 tablespoons sea salt or rock salt
4 liters water

Ingredients B:
5 tablespoons Korean chilli powder
2 tablespoons Korean chilli paste (optional)
½ tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoons grated garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
1 daikon radish, peeled and julienned
1 cup spring onion or Chinese chives, cut into 5 cm (2 inch) lengths

1.    Cut cabbage into eight pieces lengthways. Put the cabbage in a large container and sprinkle with salt evenly over the cabbage and between the leaves. Add about 4 liters of water or enough to cover the cabbage. Leave it overnight.

2.    Next day morning, rinse the cabbage under the running water 2 times and drain well. Squeeze any excess water from the cabbage. Cut cabbage into small pieces.

3.    Mix ingredients B well in a big bowl. Add the cabbage and mix well. Tightly pack each cabbage in a glass container. Keep at room temperature for 2-3 days, after this the kimchi must keep in the refrigerator at all time.

4.    Serve the kimchi into bite pieces to eat into a serving bowl.

I hope you will like too!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Yam Cha

Well, #18 & #19 new recipes of yam cha are finalised and accepted. #20 recipe is still on the way and looking for suitable ingredients. I am glad to be involved in the new recipes development with no MSG in the products. It is good to see the future yam cha in the market getting healthy and locally produced. Proud to be Australia made.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Asian Food

Lunch tasting at Asian Inspirations.

                                 Cambodian rice cracker with dipping sauce

 Thai green curry fried rice

 Malaysian chicken satay

                                                       Vietnamese paper rolls

                                                                  Hokkien Char

                                                               Japanese style grilled beef

Tasting time

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Springvale Snow Fest 2017

It was fun at Springvale snow fest. Open until 7pm tonight. 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Fruit tree - Avocado

What do you expect when you grow a fruit tree?
It is kind of rhetorical question, isn’t it? Of course, we all expect to get what we pay for when we buy a fruit tree. We especially hope to get what it is said in the label and photo. However, from our experience, sometimes things turn out to be different from the photo and label. The worst part is we have to wait for a few years of hard work to find out that it wasn’t what we paid for.

The story began 7 years ago, my husband (Bo) bought a Hass avocado tree, according the photo and name on the label, from one of major nurseries near our place. It started to flower a few years later but did not fruit and we almost chopped it down.  A couple of years later, it started to bear fruit. We were so excited, yay, we have our own avocado, especially our kids because they love avocado very much. When the fruit got bigger we had a closer look and realized that they don’t look like Hass, What? Not Hass? So, what it is? He said don’t know and have to wait until taste it. My goodness, got to wait again for few more months. Then harvesting time came and it was time to taste it, oh……not so great news, it isn’t Hass. Bo was quite upset. What are we going to do with it? We can’t really return to the nursery and get a refund, can we? I guess we can if we had its receipt. Moreover even if we had the most that we could get is a refund for the tree and we can’t do much about the tree, chop the tree???? Grow another one, have to wait for another 4-5 more years? How are we going to trust the nursery again? Well, sometimes, it is what it is, we have to accept it and keep it. Bo has a philosophy, actually he’d learned from a children book that he read for Sarah, our youngest daughter. The book said that even you try the food that you don’t like, keep eating it for five days in a row, you eventually will like it. Yah, actually, the avocados are looking good, it is still avocado, just not what we expected - Hass avocado.

The story hasn’t end yet. See, Bo has never given up. One day when I was away he started his garden plan and secretly planed two more avocado trees….what can I said, we’ve got to wait for a few more years to tell you the story. To be continued…

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Vietnamese Pizza -Vietnamese Cooking

Vietnamese Pizza- Banh Trang Nuong

Vietnamese Pizza- Banh Trang Nuong

Vietnamese pizza! Yes, you read it right Vietnamese pizza? It is one of popular street foods in Vietnam, especially for the young generations. It is quite a modern snack and I like it, no, I should say I love it very much. Not just because the pizza is so delicious but also the creativity, adventure way of cooking and serving it.

On Saigon’s street, I loved watching vendors cooking, husband and wife working together. The wife cooked on a small charcoal grill while the husband looked after the charcoal, took the orders and payments. Using the tiny and movable grill stove with the love of cooking proves to earn enough to put food on the table. It brought back my childhood memory when my little hands helped my late grandparent to look after the fire in their home commercial kitchen. In old days, grandfather used the traditional method of selling food by plying from village to village. 

Well, back to Vietnamese pizza – how to cook? Unlike normal pizza which you normally use dough, you have to use a thin rice paper sheet, top with butter, quail eggs, dried pork, dried shrimp, spring onion, fried shallots, chilli sauce and tomato sauce. It is crispy, spicy, porky, savory and very delicious.

You can use gas barbeque on low flame if you love BBQ outdoor. I use gas stove with a small grill support on top (watch out, make sure not get rice paper burn!) and it turned out pretty good except without the charcoal smell. 

Here is the Vietnamese pizza recipe: 

Vietnamese Pizza Recipe- Banh Trang Nuong
(Chargrilled Rice Paper with Quail eggs, dried pork and dried prawns)

5 rice papers
10 quail eggs or 5 small chicken eggs
5 spring onion, thinly sliced
½ cup pork floss or dried pork
½ cup dried shrimp (wash and drain well)
Fried shallot (optional)
Chilli flake (optional)
Chilli sauce/ Sriracha sauce
Tomato sauce

Heat the grill to low heat. Place one rice paper at a time. Add a bit of butter, two quail eggs, dried shrimps and pork floss in the center. Use the spoon to spread well all ingredients around and grill for one minute or until the eggs are cook though.
Sprinkle with spring onion, friend shallot and grill until the rice paper is crispy. Drizzle with chilli and tomato sauce.

Fold the rice paper. Serve hot and wrapped in a paper.

As a pizza, you can use any topping as you like, like cheese, bacon, salami, creative the way you like your pizza to be.

I used our homemade fish mince instead of pork floss as in the picture. Kids enjoy it very much, the hot one with the chilli sauce was for my youngest kid and the BBQ sauce was for my eldest who doesn’t like hot food.

Vietnamese Pizza- Banh Trang Nuong