“From Supermarket to the Table” – it’s not quite like from “the farm” to the table, right? But it is good for me. I will explain later, but first let me share my busy day with you. If you are interested, read on. Otherwise, move your mouse and click to other sites.
It has been two weeks since we moved to the city fringe of Hobart. Hobart is buzzing with international and interstate visitors flocking to The Taste Festival at the Hobart waterfront, the arrival of Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race or The Fall Festival at Marion Bay. The weather is perfect with cool temperature hovering around the twenties.
I kept telling myself that I had to go to The Taste Festival. This year was bigger and better with a revamped venue. But I have been busy with our house since we moved in – renovation, garage sale, moving furniture from one room to the other room, pruning very old and overgrown roses, mulching and more mulching. It’s a never ending story. But the beauty is that it is a small property unlike our previous property of 3 acres in the countryside. One thing I am certain is that I have finally settled in. I am doing more fun and interesting things than working on the house.
This morning I went for a very long walk, got two types of newspapers – the Tasmanian local paper, Sunday Mercury, and a mainland newspaper, Sunday Age. Read the paper while waiting for my partner to get out of bed. He finally got up. Only because the phone rang about 9:30 am! It was his parents. After the phone call, I told him that I would like to go for breakfast at Jean Pascal Patisserie – a very short walk from our house. It is our local cafe with a cute little corner store directly across with lovely cakes, gourmet snacks and food, fresh flowers and floral arrangements, gifts and others.
It was a late breakfast. About 11:30 am. I ordered the Le Grand Breakfast that came with two poached eggs on top of a French bread, bacon, grilled tomato, mushrooms and potato galette, and my partner had the Poached Eggs with Leg Ham and Hollandaise sauce. Our breakfast – it was good. Actually very good. Unfortunately, I forgot to take some photo of our breakfast. I was occupied with someone we knew who walked in before our drinks and food arrived. He was an old friend that we met years ago who lived further south than us in Dover. But moved to Hobart last year. Now we are two streets away. This can only happen in a small place like Hobart!
A well balanced substantial breakfast for me is a great way to start my Sunday morning. This is what I love most about living in the city again. A short stroll to our local cafe. Not just any cafe, but a beautiful cafe with beautiful food.
After our late breakfast and felt fully re-energised again, I quickly changed to my dirty garden gear. Time for front garden project – more pruning, mulching and mowing the grass. After three hours of hard labouring away, I am beginning to see the full potential and vision of our front garden project. My partner was busy working on the back yard. We were both knackered when we finished what we had to do. We were wondering what we should have for dinner. I suggested either he cooked a pasta dish or we go out or have a takeaway. But he came up with a better idea! He asked me to cook!
“How about making us a Ma-Po Tofu,” he asked.
That is how I started this post – “From Supermarket to the Table”. We live close to a big supermarket chain, Woolworths. It is our local supermarket now. And, one of my favourite in New Town and probably the busiest in Hobart. It is a nice and easy five minutes walk. With the supermarket so close to home, I don’t stock up the vegetables or meats in the fridge or freezer anymore. I only buy what I need to cook at the time. Thus, straight from the supermarket to our table. Or actually to our plates. We don’t eat at the table.
I have been doing this type of shopping since early this week. I love it. It brings back memory of how my mother buys her fresh produce from the wet market just for the day’s cooking. I know this is not quite like shopping back in Penang’s wet market. But for me, it is close and good enough. The supermarket produce, especially the vegetables, would have been stored in their cooler before putting on the shelf.
My partner wanted “Ma-Po” but there was no pork or chicken mince. Instead, I bought some chicken thigh fillets from the deli section, a bunch of coriander, a red and green capsicum, some tomatoes and mushrooms. I have ginger and spring onions at home. I will make a chicken with vegetable stir-fry instead.
I created a new stir-fry dish tonight. The focus was on the fresh produces for the textures and flavours. No garlic was used in tonight’s cooking. I rarely stir-fry without garlic. It was a test and it worked. I used milder ingredients – some spring onions, few slices of ginger rather than chopped, a fresh red chili and lots of coriander. The sauce was a combination of oyster and fish sauce with a pinched of freshly cracked black pepper and palm sugar. The real essence of the food was on the tender juicy thigh fillets in bite pieces, crunchy capsicum and perfectly coated tomato dices with the thicken sauce.
I cooked this dish using my heavy duty portable Asian wok burner with a well seasoned wok. The flame was strong with plenty “wok hay”. Ideal for Chinese stir fry. The cooking was done outside. A nice change from cooking in the kitchen.