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A Splash of Soy: Everyday Food from Asia

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A little espresso powder enhances the spice and caramel notes of the chocolate, because coffee and chocolate share the same flavour characteristics. The addition of macadamias is a nod to my Australian roots; it’s a famous nut down under that is buttery and creamy, adding blissful texture to the fudginess of the brownie (and yes, these brownies are the fudgy kind!). You can substitute the macadamias with most nuts, such as walnuts or pecans. For a more intimate summer lunch, I shall stand at the kitchen table and chop lemongrass and garlic, spring onions and soft, green spring cabbage, then toss them with fat, wild prawns in a very hot pan. A splash of soy and fish sauce, this is the sort of special dish that always seems better when cooked just for two. The prawns, fat and sweet, are a rare treat.

A Splash of Soy - Bloomsbury Publishing A Splash of Soy - Bloomsbury Publishing

To serve, scoop 2 large spoonful’s of the mixture into each lettuce cup, top with curly spring onions and serve with lime wedges. Author Lara Lee takes influence from her upbringing to a Chinese-Indonesian father and Australian mother, eulogising the contrasts in flavour, temperature and texture offered by the cuisine of her childhood.After the chocolate has cooled down for 2–3 minutes, add the room-temperature beaten eggs gradually, a little at a time, mixing well in between additions by hand. Fold in the sifted flour, macadamia nuts and espresso powder (or instant coffee and water mixture) until well combined. Wipe out the pan and heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add the prawns in a single layer and cook for 1–2 minutes each side, or until they are just cooked through. Remove and set aside on a plate lined with kitchen paper.

A Splash of Soy: Everyday Food from Asia, by Lara Lee - Sous Chef

There are few photographs of the food, and they all seem to have been taken from a huge distance. There are lots of pictures of the author. The structure of the book is really a shame because some of the recipes do sound like that would be very flavorful, but there are too many ingredients I can’t possibly find (like kecap manis). Sometimes substitutes are given.

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Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan and set up the middle shelf for baking. Roast the macadamia nuts for 6–8 minutes, or until golden brown, then remove and set aside. This cookbook has the worst structure I have ever encountered. Bizarrely, the ingredients list rarely comes at the beginning of a recipe, but things get worse. For example, this is the sequence for Kimchee Pancakes with Sriracha Bacon: first an introduction (there is one for each recipe), then a list of ingredients for the bacon, then instructions for mixing a dipping sauce, instructions for mixing the pancakes, how to make it vegan (omit bacon and eggs), cooking time, ingredients for the dipping sauce, ingredients for the pancakes, instructions for cooking the pancakes, instructions for cooking the bacon, instructions for cooking eggs (note that the eggs are listed with the pancake ingredients, so it looks like they are part of the batter), assembly instructions. Who has the patience to try to cook from that? Maybe read this book for the descriptions, and then if anything really appeals to you write out the recipe yourself. Dessert will be a yoghurt cake, soft like a sponge but with a nod to cheesecake. There will be berries too, cooked with honey to spoon on top. The gooseberries are finally here and to be celebrated with any form of dairy (fool first, crumble and cream next, then as a compote with yoghurt).

A Splash of Soy: Everyday Food from Asia - Goodreads A Splash of Soy: Everyday Food from Asia - Goodreads

A Splash of Soy may not be a bible to culinary tradition but its vibrant, colourful Asian-western mash-ups would offer great inspiration for chefs considering a pop-up or themed day.Also included in this cookbook are beautiful, professional photographs of most of the recipes, making it difficult to decide which recipe to prepare next. There are so many good, mouthwatering recipes that cooks who have a taste for Asian dishes will stay busy cooking for months. My husband considers himself something of a brownie connoisseur (I’d probably describe it as a chocolate addiction), and he told me these tamarind caramel brownies were the best he’d ever eaten. I’ll let you be the judge of that (since he is blinded by the extreme bias of love), but what is clear is that tamarind’s sharpness takes flight in sweet desserts, its sweetly sour profile offsetting the richness of the caramel in this deeply chocolatey brownie.

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