Mr C’s Pork, Butternut and Turmeric Coconut Curry

I think I was in danger of listing all the ingredients in that there title. But no, for actually there are quite a few; worth it though as this is a stonker of a curry, rich and unctuous. Mr C likes to call this “his” pork curry, in the annoying manner of celebrity chefs.

Don’t worry if you’re not crazy about the texture of squashes; neither are we, really. They are so terribly easy to grow though, you almost have to fend them off with a stick. The beauty of this is that the squash melts away and just gently thickens and sweetens slightly, balancing the saltiness of the kimchi and fish sauce.


  • 1kg pork belly or spare ribs, cubed
  • 1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 can/400ml coconut cream
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 stalks curry leaves (about 30 leaves)
  • 1 cup kimchi (if you can’t find kimchi, don’t fret. Use more chilli, perhaps add some shredded cabbage and a touch more fish sauce to taste).

Spice paste**: blend together:

  • 2 large onions
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger or a good ‘thumb’* of fresh
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 ‘thumbs’ fresh turmeric
  • 2 chillies, of reasonable heat, but it’s up to you, really
  • 1/3 cup of cashews, unsalted
  • oil for frying

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Heat some oil in a large, ovenproof pan and add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the curry leaves which should also sizzle for a couple of seconds. Add the blended spice paste mixture. Fry until fragrant and the oil starts to separate slightly.

Remove the paste and set aside. Fry the cubed pork in the pan until browned (you may need to add a touch more oil, but remember fat will release from the belly pork fairly quickly). Add the beef stock, a good shake of fish sauce, and return the spice paste to the pan. Stir and add the cubed squash, bring to a simmer and cover, cook in the oven for an hour & a half.

Stir in the can of coconut cream and the kimchi, recover and cook for a further hour in the oven.

Serve with a lovely fresh green vegetable such as this home grown broccoli and some fluffy white rice.IMG_0600

* A House of Chopsticks measure equating to a piece about the length of your little finger. But a ‘finger’ of something just doesn’t sound right, somehow…

**There’s no reason why you shouldn’t make up twice the quantity of paste and then freeze half, to save all that faffing around the next time you want to make this. You will want to make this again….


Middle Eastern Style Chicken

???????????????????????????????This is one of our all time favourite chicken dishes – originally from the Sun Herald magazine under the moniker Syrian Chicken, I’ve tinkered with it a bit to make it suit me better. I’ve omitted the saffron and whole chicken of the original recipe, in favour of chicken thigh pieces, and upped the quantity of some spices, reduced the salt content. Trust me, it’s a winner.

Now, I’m a girl who doesn’t really enjoy fruit with her dinner. I think this arises from bad memories of ‘English’ curries from the ’70s, where it was de riguer to add sultanas for some inexplicable reason. Or bananas. Bananas. I ask you. Pineapple on pizza still gives me the horrors. Continue reading

Tau Yu Chicken

???????????????????????????????Mum would make this occasionally when we were little, always as part of a banquet of dishes, usually when relatives came to stay. She calls this simply ‘tau yu’, though as far as I’m aware that just means soy sauce. The sauce is very salty and is meant to be used in condiment sized portions with white, fluffy rice.


  • 1kg chicken pieces, on the bone, with skin
  • 150ml soy sauce
  • 6 – 10 large cloves garlic
  • 50g fresh ginger, peeled

Finely cut the ginger into thin match sticks, and finely chop the garlic. Mix with the soy sauce and pour over the chicken. Refrigerate for 1.5 hours to marinate.???????????????????????????????

Heat the oil in a pan. Lift the chicken pieces from the marinade and fry in the hot oil until evenly browned. The pieces should fit snugly in the pan. Add the marinade, and enough water to come part way up the chicken. partway upSimmer for 30 minutes or until the chicken is tender. The sauce will be reduced considerably.

Lift the chicken from the oil when serving. Drizzle a little of the salty soy gravy over the chicken.


Aunty Phil’s Black Curry

My aunty Phil has a treasure trove of recipes, handed down from friends or relatives, carefully penned into a series of exercise books. This one was passed to her from Ceylonese friends, as Sri Lanka was known then, and is a simple but delicious variant on the famous teardrop isle’s black curry.

This is intended to be a ‘dry’ curry, without much sauce. The name comes from the black pepper, which gives the curry its characteristic darkness. All of the heat – and this is a mild curry – is from the peppercorns, as there is no chilli.cspicesandmeat_small

Ingredients Continue reading

The Unintentional Food Tour of New Zealand

It was meant to be a walking holiday. You know, getting out into nature, the quiet, the solitude, the tweeting of only the birds. Bit of exercise to work off the flab of Christmas. Hopefully a bit cooler than the oppressive Sydney Summer.

As it turned out, NZ was in the middle of a mini heatwave, and temperatures topped 34 in the south of the South Island on Christmas day. Not prime walking conditions in my book, being a bit of a wuss when it comes to exertion.

Thus it was that we spent more time eating than we did actually hiking. And drinking beer. Lots of beer. Turns out that there’s something of a craft beer thing going on in NZ. Nice.

Our first hint of this occurred at the excellent Pomeroys in Christchurch. A cab ride from our accommodation, but worth every taxi cent. Huge range of local, proper beers from peeps such as 3 Boys, Four Avenues, Emersons and Harringtons. The 3 Boys coconut milk stout a particular favourite. Range of single malts for Mr Chopsticks, all with unpronounceable gaelic sounding names. He heartily recommends Balblair 2001 Vintage and Kilchoman ‘Machir Bay’ (apparently Islay’s smallest distillery). Burgers & cheese plate weren’t bad either. And there was live music. I mean, seriously, what else could you possibly want in a pub?

Next up, the initially incongruous seeming Japansese restaurant in Lake Tekapo village, Kohan. Incongruous until we realised there was an excellent salmon farm at nearby Mount Cook, that is. The salmon sashimi was sublime:IMG_2428  Continue reading

Bacon. Food of the Gods.


Earlier this year I signed up for one of the classes at Urban Food Market in Marrickville, run by Tim. He warned me that I’d be eating a lot of bacon. Really, a lot of bacon! I assured him I could never tire of good bacon.

For some time, I have been on the trail of the perfect smoky porky cut; that didn’t leak milky nastiness into the frying pan, and shrink by 50%, that wasn’t too salty, and which I could guarantee the provenance of – humane choice bacon – difficult to do under a supermarket monoculture, unless you have access to an excellent butcher. So the lure of easy, homemade bacon was strong. Seems I wasn’t alone – a Scottish couple in the class were also bemoaning the difficulty of locating a decent rasher.

Reading the excellent Cured, by Lindy Wildsmith, and researching slightly obsessively online, had suitably scared the beejezus outta me, with warnings about the dangers of improperly cured meats potentially causing a slow and painful death by paralysis (botulism). I wasn’t about to go off experimenting on my own. I rather like being alive. Continue reading