Steamed Silken Tofu

Steamed TofuThe first time I bought silken tofu I cooked it in a stir-fry, just like I’d cook firm tofu because I didn’t know any better. It was awful. The tofu was so soft that it fell apart, became an ugly, gluggy mess, and I couldn’t understand why anyone would use it over firm tofu.

Fast-forward a couple of years and I came across a recipe for steamed silken tofu. My eyes were opened and my mind was blown. I’m now a silken tofu convert.

Steamed silken tofu has an incredible creamy texture. This soft and smooth tofu combined with a fragrant, spicy, sweet, and salty dressing makes this one of my favourite vegetarian tofu dishes.

Steamed Silken Tofu

Serves 2.
Slightly adapted from a Kylie Kwong recipe at The Cook and the Chef.

  • 300g silken tofu
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • Steamed greens and/or rice, to serve
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves, to serve
  • Pinch Sichuan pepper and salt, to serve


  • 1 tbs finely chopped ginger
  • 2 tbs sliced spring onion
  • 2 tbs chopped coriander stems
  • 2 tbs kecap manis
  • 2 tbs Shaoxing wine
  • 1 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 ½ tbs light soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp dried chilli
  1. Cut tofu into rectangular pieces. Oil the top of a bamboo steamer and place the tofu pieces in the steamer (alternatively, if you do not have a bamboo steamer, place the tofu on top of a piece of baking paper in a saucepan steamer). Steam for 10 minutes with the lid on.
  2. Combine all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, set aside.
  3. Remove tofu from the steamer and drain away any excess liquid.
  4. Heat the remaining 1 tbs sesame oil in a small pan on high heat until smoking.
  5. Place the tofu on a plate in a single layer, pour the dressing over tofu, then carefully drizzle with hot oil.
  6. Garnish with coriander leaves, Sichuan pepper and salt. Serve with steamed greens and/or rice.


The Reuben

pa044790May I start by saying… How good is corned beef?! It’s a bit daggy, but I’ve always loved it. I remember eating it as a child, and daily when Paul and I holidayed in Fiji many years ago. It’s funny how food memories stick with you.

Corned beef has become quite popular lately, thanks to the mighty Reuben sandwich which has been popping up on menus all over Sydney this past year (or has it been longer? I can’t remember, don’t quote me!). There are many variations of Reuben, but the one I’m into is from Reuben & Moore in Westfield Sydney.

Reuben & Moore’s Reuben is made with ‘prime Wagyu salt beef, served on hand sliced freshly baked rye, Swiss cheese, homemade dill pickles, sauerkraut & mild mustard mayo’. Amazing.

I had purchased a glorious piece of grass-fed corned wagyu beef from Tim at Urban Food Market and there was really only one destiny for it. I had to make my own Reuben at home.

pa044787In the past we had cooked our regular corned beef on the stovetop for a couple of hours, with various additions such as cloves, sugar, vinegar, bay leaves, and of course vegetables. The corned beef was nice, but it was never super tender.

There was only one way to cook my wagyu corned beef, and it wasn’t on the stovetop. I slow cooked it for 8 hours with minimal additions (as per instructions by Chef’s Armoury) so that we could get the true flavour of the beef. The result was top quality corned beef that was deliciously tender. Sliced and added to a sandwich of Brasserie Bread Rye, sauerkraut, polski ogorki (dill pickled cucumbers), Swiss cheese, and homemade Dijonnaise, it was definitely worth the slow cooking time.

Are you a corned beef fan? If no, why not?! ;)

Wagyu Corned Beef and The Reuben Sandwich

For the corned beef:

  • Corned beef (wagyu or otherwise)
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and studded with 8 cloves
  • 2 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced thickly
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced
  1. Remove corned beef from packaging and rinse.
  2. Add beef to slow cooker, add the onion, garlic, celery and carrot, then top with cold water 2 inches above the beef (note: the corned beef tends to float, so I weighed mine down with a flat dish so it stayed completely submerged).
  3. Cook on low for 8 hours, or until the beef is very tender (note: I had the slow cooker on low for 7 hours and on high for the final hour, but next time I might try 4 hours on high).
  4. Discard vegetables, remove the beef from the pot and let sit for 20 minutes, slice and serve, but if serving cold, let it cool in the cooking liquid.

T0 assemble Reuben:

  • Rye bread
  • Swiss cheese
  • Polski ogorki (dill cucumbers), sliced
  • Sauerkraut
  • Mayonnaise, mustard, or Dijonnaise (purchased or make your own – it’s so much easier using a food processor by the way)
  1. Choose a good quality rye bread (I used Brasserie Bread). Add a slice or two or Swiss cheese on a piece of bread and place under grill to melt.
  2. Top with slow cooked corned beef (re-heated), sauerkraut, dill cucumbers, and the condiment of your choice.
  3. Marvel at the best sandwich ever, that you’ve just created.

Nigella’s Roast Buttermilk Chicken and Coleslaw

Buttermilk ChickenYou know that old question “Are you a breast man or a leg man?”… Well I’m no man, but let’s apply it to a different subject and talk about chicken! When it comes to chicken I’m definitely a breast girl. People say chicken breast lacks flavour and is dry, but when cooked well I can’t go past the white meat.

I never cook chicken wings, thighs or drumsticks, unless I’m roasting a whole bird, but I saw a recipe for roast buttermilk chicken drumsticks in Nigella Express that looked and sounded delicious so I put aside my prejudice and gave it a go. Another dislike I overcame was coleslaw. Nigella said it goes well with the buttermilk chicken so who was I to argue?

Well I’m glad I didn’t argue, because the whole meal was delicious – drumsticks and all!

Nigella recommends marinating the chicken in the buttermilk marinade overnight, or at least 30mins-2 hours (max) out of the fridge. I was cooking these the same day so they only had a few hours in the fridge. The recipes for both the chicken and coleslaw dressing call for maple syrup, but I only had honey stocked and it worked well. Another change I made was using walnuts instead of pecans in the coleslaw.

And the end result? This was super easy to make, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the drumsticks for lunch the next day! They’re very juicy and tender thanks to the buttermilk – no stringy, dry chicken here! The skin could have been crispier, but then that would have encouraged me to eat it, so I was ok with that ;)

And whilst I won’t win any contests in knife skills (it took me a while to work out how to best chop the cabbage…), the roughly chopped coleslaw was so fresh and I loved the added crunch from the nuts. The dressing was fantastic as well, quite light but full of flavour.

So… are you a (chicken) breast or leg man/woman? :D

Roast Buttermilk Chicken
From Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson

  • 1.25kg chicken drumsticks (ours were quite large so we had 5 in total)
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, bruised and skins removed
  • 1 tablespoon crushed peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon Maldon salt, sea salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or honey)
  1. Place the chicken drumsticks in a large freezer bag, and add the buttermilk and 1/4 cup of oil.
  2. Add the bruised garlic cloves to the bag with the crushed peppercorns and salt.
  3. Sprinkle in the ground cumin and finally add the maple syrup, and then squish everything in the freezer bag around to mix the marinade and coat the chicken.
  4. Leave the buttermilk marinated chicken in the fridge ideally overnight or out of the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
  5. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7. Take the chicken pieces out of the bag shaking off the excess marinade, and then arrange them in a roasting tin lined with foil.
  6. Drizzle over the 2 remaining tablespoons of oil, and then roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until brown, even scorched in parts, and juicily cooked through.

New Orleans Coleslaw
From Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson

  • 1 head white or savoy cabbage, about 1kg before trimming
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 4 spring onions
  • 200g best-quality store-bought mayonnaise (I used low-fat whole-egg)
  • 4 x 15ml tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)
  • 2 teaspoons apple or cider vinegar
  • 100g pecans, fairly finely chopped (or walnuts)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Trim and shred the cabbage, either by hand or with a food processor.
  2. Peel and grate the carrots, and finely slice the celery and spring onions.
  3. Whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, maple syrup and vinegar and coat the shredded vegetables with this dressing.
  4. Season, and toss through the chopped nuts