“What’s Cooking” in Victor’s Kitchen

Right. Here I am writing my post. I was going to finish this last night, but then got caught watching “20 centimeters” on SBS Two. A Spanish film, definitely OTT (Over The Top) musical, high camp show which is not everyone’s taste. I thought it was hilarious especially in subtitle, and watching the transvestite’s dream of becoming a real woman.

Now I can relax. Sitting on a long wooden bench looking out towards my garden, and listening to the birds chirping. I have just finished and cleaned up my kitchen. Earlier, I reheated some leftover beef fillets and button mushrooms fried with garlic and lemongrass, chicken pieces with homegrown sugar snap peas in kaffir lime leaves and some rice. No. No microwave is used to reheat my dishes. Only the rice. But, my partner insisted there was not enough to feed both of us! So I got out 2 duck eggs from the fridge, courtesy of a good friend Stu, from his free range duck farm. And, made a third dish of pan fried duck eggs served in oyster sauce and topped with lots of chopped spring onions, fresh red chilies and dried shallots.

While preparing dinner, I was multi-tasking! Watching Channel Ten news and washing some clothing. It was 5:30 pm. Clear blue sky. It does not get dark at my place until after 9 pm. So plenty more sunlights to naturally dry our clothes. So, back to my kitchen.

Removed the beef and chicken leftover from the fridge. Emptied them into a shallow saucepan each. Placed them on top of my Bosch’s Induction Stove and set to a medium temperature. Then took out some leftover rice. Emptied in a porcelain Chinese bowl and covered with a small white plate. Placed in the microwave oven. It is perfectly fine to reheat leftover rice in this way. The moisture in the covered bowl will help keep the rice moist and not dried out. While all these are set in place, I started preparing and chopping the spring onions and fresh red chilies. Break the duck eggs into a shallow bowl and set aside.

Next I took out my induction wok and placed on the induction stove. Turned the knob to a maximum temperature and poured enough cooking oil to cover the eggs. Once heated and the oil was slightly “dancing”, the eggs were poured in. The eggs started to sizzle and bounce gently in the hot oil. This only took 2 minutes for the eggs to become crisp. Gently removed them and placed on some absorbent paper towel to soak up excess oil. The eggs were then plated and dressed with the remaining ingredients. That was our dinner for tonight.

Free Range Duck Eggs in Oyster Sauce

I cooked the leftover beef dish last night for our dinner. I have cooked this dish previously, but this time I decided to add a few other ingredients to test the flavour. I am a herb lover – especially coriander, sweet basil, Thai mint, lemongrass and kaffir lime leave. This time I wanted to use some of my fresh lemongrass from the greenhouse. I twisted and plucked two sticks off the plant and chopped them finely. The scent of fresh lemongrass and its distinct sharpness sends my sensation buds into a velocity high.

Fresh lemongrass in my greenhouse. I have chopped the top off as they grew too tall for the greenhouse.

It survives the first winter!

On previous night, I sliced the beef fillet into small pieces and marinated in fish sauce and oyster sauce.

Before I cooked the beef, I prepared some finely chopped garlic, chopped shallots and sliced one fresh red chili. Next I sliced some button mushrooms.

To cook – I placed my induction wok on the stove. Turned the heat to maximum temperature. Poured some cooking oil into the wok. Once heated, I tossed in chopped garlic and lemongrass. Next the beef and then mushroom. I continued to stir fry for a few minutes, then added shallots, chili and the sauces, which was a mixture of fish sauce, oyster sauce and a sprinkle of salt and sugar.

I decided we got to have some greens with our protein and carbohydrate rich meal.

There were 2 bunches of Bok Choy left in my fridge compartment. I removed them and cut them in half. Then quickly blanched in a hot boiling water. Removed and placed on a plate and dressed with diluted oyster sauce, a sprinkle of sesame oil, and topped with some freshly chopped red chili and dried shallots.

Bok Choy in Oyster Sauce

Now! Do you have some time for a chat in my Kitchen?

This may sounds quite personal. We usually do things and behave differently in front of others. When we are in the kitchen and at home eating dinner with our partner, we are generally being ourself. That is why we normally term our partner as the other half; whether it is the better or the worse half. Even when we are in front of the children or parents, we may project ourself a bit differently. I think. So, my question is – “What do you normally drink with your dinner at home?” Is it generally wine, beer, milk, juice, soft drinks, tea, coffee or just plain water.

It is understandable in a different society and culture we have different drinks to accompany our meal. For example, I grew up drinking Chinese tea or water with my meal. Even now when I go back to Penang, I will only drink tea or water with my meal. But in our society here, it is almost a norm to drink a glass of wine with our meal. Even more so, when we socialise with friends. So when you are at home alone or with your partner, what do you normally drink?

Well, last night dinner I had fresh peppermint tea with my dinner. I plucked a couple of stems from a peppermint plant in my garden. Removed some leaves and placed in a heat proof carafe filled with hot boiled water. It was refreshing and aid my digestive system after an oily and spicy meal.

Peppermint plant in my garden

A glass of fresh peppermint tea

20 responses to ““What’s Cooking” in Victor’s Kitchen

  1. Hi V, I’m both exhausted & invigorated by your posts…you have so much energy.
    I was brought up on wine (very rough, very red) which my Pepe poured into our lemonade (in our little vegemite glass jars) from a demijohn he kept on the floor by his side at the table. Neither he, nor indeed any of the adults drank to excess at meal times, in fact I notice that when eating with my family in Savoie I’m always the one with the empty glass!

  2. Hi Victor, we used to “drink” soup with our meals in Msia but in UK, it’s either water or nothing. Green tea is an all day drink for us.
    The beef with mushrooms looks good, I’m salivating, I like how you add chillies to all your dishes. Do you reheat your leftovers by semi-cooking them again? I try not to use the microwave for reheating too.

    • Oh, yes. At home, my mum always have a bowl of soup for me. It must be some kind of health nutritional benefit to accompany with the other dishes.
      Yes, I like to reheat my leftover in gentle heat, even in small amount (I have various size saucepans). The spices in the dish tends to intensify more and gives out more flavour; thus, tastes even better!
      I like to use chili, to spice the dish and to add some colour. 🙂

  3. Good question Victor. At home, growing up, Mum and Dad always had both a red and white wine, which we children were always offered, but mostly we refused. The same still is so now when we go to Mum and Dad’s for a meal. Dad gets a bit upset if we can’t taste the specific flavours he picks up in each of his wines too.

    It must be frustrating for him that none of us 6 kids are drinkers. We sometimes placate him by having a small glass of whatever it is that he is insisting we taste, but none of us are the types to pop into a bottle shop to buy a bottle of wine to take home and drink with dinner, or buy a carton of great wine to store away for those times when we want a drink.

    I must add that I have never seen either Mum or Dad anything slightly resembling drunk, and neither have I seen any of my brothers or sisters drunk either. I myself have never been drunk, in my life, ever – as hard as that might be to believe. As a teenager, I watched my friends doing it, but they looked so stupid, and said and did such stupid things when pissed that I could never have done it to myself!

    I note with amusement the reactions of waitstaff when I order the odd drinks I feel like with my meals at restaurants – most of them non alcoholic. I could have a coke, or ice cream soda, or apple cider, or milkshake, or iced chocolate. Occasionally I could order a sticky like a Frogmore Creek Iced Reisling, or a Brown Bros Crouchen or Spatlese Lexia or Orange Muscat.

    Am OK with water but don’t like it, and don’t drink it much – maybe a glass a week, and that’s only because I have to have it with tablets!

    Done any good psychoanalysis from that?

    • Rita – you are normal. 🙂 I meant in a good way. That doesn’t mean you are not a sociable person. I mean I don’t drink as well until I moved to Australia. Dad used to drink Guiness at home when I was a kid. Said it was good for health. So I had Guiness once and really hated the taste. Then I tried, believe it or not, “Babycham”! So bubbly and sweet and girlie. That probably explain the end result of me growing up! LOL!

      I remember an Advert years ago about a group of people at a party and all of them started off normal, then slowly as the night progresses, they were getting more and more pissed! LOL! Soon, they looked at each other, and saw a “Monkey” making a mockery of himself, a “King Cobra” back stabbing friends not there, a female “Hyena” with that silly loud noise which sounded like laughter…and so on. I wish they still show that Ad because it makes me laugh each time I see it!

  4. Victor – Those dishes looks yummy. I want to invite myself to your kitchen one of these days.

    Speaking about the lemongrass, that reminds me to buy something to cover it. I have a little garden in my backyard and the winter is here.

    • Anytime, Seeharhed. Just ring the door bell! One day, I do hope to meet up with you and a few of your friendly American Lao Bloggers. Are you guys naturalised? Or can you hold dual citizenships? In Malaysia, we can only hold one citizenship.

      Btw Happy Thanksgiving to you, Dallas and Salalao, and family members! Any posts on how you will celebrate – American or Lao version? 🙂

      • Victor – Thanks for the welcoming. It would be awesome if we all meet and have a nice meals together. As of right now, you can’t not hold dual citizenship. Although, Laos modified their laws regarding dual citizenship and made it easier for those who wants to go back to live there. The key is you have to contribute to the local economy by opening sort of business.

        As far as laotian version of Thanksgiving… Always got to have some stickyrice and tum mark hoong (papaya salad). Oh yea.. and plenty of alcohol. hahhaha

  5. Hi V, Prof here soon so will be down south b4 Xmas. Would love to catch up. Maybe a barbie at Randalls with Rita et les trois Steves too?
    And Rita, I’ve gotta meet your dad! x

    • Hey Colette – yeah, love to come. I am back from Penang on 15 Dec. Flying off this Sunday. Poor partner Stevie will be “Home Alone”! Oh, with wee “Bonnie” looking after him of course. Let me know when and what I/we can bring.

  6. I’m there at a barbie at RB, but won’t bring Dad along – he’s way more antisocial than me!

  7. Victor It is 1 am in U.S eastern timezone. My mother is still up preparing meal for this evening feast. We will have traditional turkey dinnner with a lao twisted. Which mean in addtion to the normal american side dishes. We will have some lao food as well. Cripsy fried spring rolls, fried soft shell crabs, Fresh cracked raw oyster for me and my sister,sautee shrimp with the head on with ginger and green onions, white cloud fungus salad with squids, venison jerky, papaya salad of course sticky rice, and for desert, I bought some pies, pumpkins roll and sticky buns at the arminish market and mom is making nam wun “kao la song” topped with palm seed in sweet syrup, fresh honey dew and slice sweet corns all will be mixed togther with fresh coconut milk and homemade cane syrup.
    For the the drink the men are usually will have thier beer, we will variety of wine to choose from, for me I stick with hot white tea and with the deserts hot coffee with half-half.

    • Oh, wow wow wow! That is a real feast, Salalao. I am drooling all over with the sound and description of each of the Lao dishes. Cooking up a storm! Wow again! I love Lao fried spring roll (they don’t do the same version here) and fried soft shell crab. What a delight! I wish I was living nearby and just “gate crash”! Ummm..the dessert nam wun kao la song sounds so good too. Have a great time!

  8. Just b4 you commit guys, I have to tell you know that our ‘barbie’ is a rust(y)ic old upturned 44 gallon drum (…see what I have to put up with!)
    Would love to do this. How about Sunday, Dec 20th?
    ps Bonnie most welcome.
    x

  9. Hi Victor – Happy Thanksgiving!

    You have nice garden. Plants like to dried up around me and pets (fish and shellscrab) tend not survive longer than 6 months. I tendency to over water the plants and overfeed the pets.

    I am not much of a wine drinker. I think water taste better with any food especially Lao foods. I like to drink hot tea when I eat anything that is greasy or anything fry.

    • Hey thanks, Dallas. Well, I must admit I did kill some plants. Guess not planted in the right spot. After a few mishaps, I always read the label on type soil, sunlight before choosing best spot for the plant. Helps.
      Not only is it healthy to drink tea and water, but cheaper than wine. 🙂

  10. Hey Victor – I LOVE Babycham too – next time you get some, please share! (Do they still make it? If so, it’s just about worth making the trip to UK just for that! I can hear GP groaning now!)

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