Archive | January, 2012

Makin’ Mayo

29 Jan

I spent about eight years living in the East and I loved it.  My Better Half, or BH, and I were based in Taiwan which has a really rich culinary history influenced heavily by both China and Japan.  I learnt so much about food while living there.  I learnt to  deep fry basil for chicken dishes and what a godsend panko crumbs are and how the dinky little  bottles of soy sauce you buy in the west are never going to cut it if you’re going to really COOK with it.  I learnt what rice is really supposed to taste like.   I learnt to hate the cho tofu stand lady.

Most importantly I learnt to become self sufficient in the kitchen.  Unless I wanted to make a really long journey through insane traffic to that one specialty store that might possibly have pesto at an exorbitant price, I was going to have to make it myself.  The same went for curry sauces, pasta sauces, pie crusts, baked beans,  pastry and chocolate peanut butter cups.  Now that I’m back in the west, I must confess to buying all these in the store again.  The one thing I won’t buy anymore though, is mayo.

Despite its  reputation for being fickle  homemade mayonnaise is one of the easiest things to make.  It also knocks the socks off of any store bought variety AND it makes use of ingredients most of you have in your cupboards right now.

  • 2 egg yolks ( I freeze the whites and use them for meringues)
  • 1 heaped tsp of whole grain mustard
  • 1 Tbsp of white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp of lemon juice
  • 500 ml of vegetable oil
  • a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper

Now the joy of these ingredients is they don’t have to be exact.  It you don’t have white wine vinegar, use cider vinegar.  Hot English mustard works just as well as whole grain.  Play with the flavours until you find the mayo that works for you.  I like  adding about 25 gm of a hard sharp cheese like  Pecorino Romano to give it a really nice savouriness.

Add all the ingredients except for the oil into a large bowl and break out your hand mixer.  You can of cause use a food processor, but cleaning one bowl is easier than cleaning a food processor.  If you’re trying to build upper arm strength, you could also try doing this with a whisk. Mix all the ingredients together to start the emulsion and then very slowly, drop by drop start adding the oil.  Put the oil in a squeezey bottle.   Using one of these helps control the amount of oil you’re adding.

Once you are confident the emulsion is holding, you can the oil a little faster.  Keep on adding the oil until you’ve used it all.  If at this point you find mayo a bit on the thick side you can thin it down with a tablespoon or two of boiling water. Oh, please remember, that although this is delicious, it is made with raw eggs, so keep in the refrigerator, and those with impaired immune systems, the elderly, expectant mothers and  very young children should probably steer clear.   Enjoy!


Piggy Bites

22 Jan

There are lots of reasons not to start a food blog. It takes huge amounts of time. I don’t have picture perfect cooking equipment and I have a kitchen the size of a postage stamp. I am not now nor will I ever be a photographer. There are about a zillion other food bloggers out there who have all done a better job than I could ever hope to. I mean they’re real chefs or food stylists or BOTH! Did I mention how much time it takes?

There are however a couple of reasons to start one though. The first being a love for cooking and coming up with new recipes and an incessant need to talk about food. The second being when your better half, or BH.  tells you that if you don’t stop talking about food blogging and actually start doing it, he’s never going to talk to you again.  And you love him all the more for it.

So this it the outcome. The first recipe we’re going to tackle is a new favourite of my BH. I like to call them caramelised apple, sage and pork stuffing balls lovingly wrapped in crisp salty bacon.  He likes to call them Piggy Bites.

First up, the ingredients. These don’t have to be exact.  The list below will make ten bites with left over filling.

  • 250 gm minced pork
  • 2 apples
  • 20 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 50 gm bread crumbs
  • 16 sage leaves (10 whole and 6 finely chopped)
  • 1 egg
  • 30 gm butter
  • salt
  • pepper

First you’re going to need to toast the bread crumbs until they’re lightly golden and crispy.  They should resemble panko crumbs.   Alternatively just use panko crumbs.  I toast the bread at 200°C and then leave the oven on so it’s ready to bake the bites.

While these are toasting, peal and cut the apples into wedges.   Then melt the butter in a small pan and caramelise the apples to sweeten and soften their flavour.  They should land up looking something like this.

Once the apples have cooled, chop them really finely or even process them into a puree, depending on your taste.  Add the apples, pork, crumbs, egg, salt, pepper and the finely chopped sage into a bowl and get stuck in with both hands and mix.

Then haul out your muffin tin and place a piece of bacon in one of the cups.  Top the bacon with a sage leaf and then place another piece of bacon at a right angle on top of that.  Make a small stuffing ball and place it on top of the bacon and then fold the over lapping bacon pieces over the stuffing.  Secure with a cocktail stick. Something like this.

Once you have ten muffin tin holes filled with bacon-ey goodness, pop the tin into the preheated oven and bake for 40 -45 mins.  I tend to serve these for breakfast and this gives me enough time to get eggs scrambled, bread toasted juice squeezed and coffee percolated.  Enjoy!

P.S.  They also work really well as a stuffing side for your Christmas/Thanksgiving turkey.

the port elizabeth blogger

The Banting Cook

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