Peperonata, More Than a Side Dish

I love this dish because it requires few ingredients and provides a lot of flavour. It is a great side dish to present at a dinner party – but I love it solo or with a naughty slice of cheese on top – just like how I’m making it today, with my favourite smoked provola sarda (which I’ve imported from home). I often use bell peppers for this, mixing all colours in, but this time I’m making it using these long red and green peppers, very sweet flavoured and comforting to the palate. This recipe makes enough for two.

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Three Cup Chicken (San Bei Ji)

One of the most common questions associated with this Chinese recipe is: why is it called three cup chicken? Simply because it’s mainly flavoured with 3 cups: 1 cup of sesame oil, 1 cup of soy sauce and 1 cup of rice wine. That’s the idea anyway! In reality, you don’t want to use a full cup of everything – otherwise it will be far too oily and sa Continue reading “Three Cup Chicken (San Bei Ji)”

Chinese Big Plate Chicken Stew (Dapanji) with Homemade Flat Noodles

A big plate of chicken is a great dish to share for a festive gathering, and for winter, this stew really warms you up! The name, Dapanji, literally means a big plate of chicken, and, as you can probably imagine with a name like that, there are many variations of this recipe. Dapanji is actually a fusion dish between Sichuan and Xinjiang cuisine, so it’s definitely spicy! We’ve made it here with a poussin as we didn’t have that many mouths to feed, but as you can imagine, it’s easy to scale up. Continue reading “Chinese Big Plate Chicken Stew (Dapanji) with Homemade Flat Noodles”

Aubergine/Eggplant and Beans Stir-Fry (Qiezi Doujiao)

We’re starting January with a simple Chinese veggie recipe, as we’re probably all nursing some headaches and watching the scale. Aubergine and spice also makes a very warming combination, so it’s good for the winter months! The recipe does require oyster sauce, but if you can making a vegetarian version then you can get vegetarian oyster sauce made from mushrooms instead. Continue reading “Aubergine/Eggplant and Beans Stir-Fry (Qiezi Doujiao)”

Old Fashioned Gingerbread

Christmas means plenty of gingerbread – gingerbread men, gingerbread house… I’ve always wanted to make a gingerbread cake, as I like the flavours in there more so than Christmas pudding, and wanted a scrumptious gingerbread-like dessert to wrap up Christmas dinner.

This year, I found the favourite old fashioned gingerbread recipe and decided to adapt it by reducing the sweetness and doubling the spice, and also adding a layer of mascarpone cream icing on top. The result? Delicious! The cream and gingerbread taste worked really well together! Continue reading “Old Fashioned Gingerbread”


Giant “Lion Head” Meatballs (Shi Zi Tou)

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! Time to bring out the mooncakes and watch the full harvest moon – as we say, may the flowers be beautiful and the moon be round. This week’s Chinese recipe is also round! These pork meatballs are roughly the size of tennis balls, and are called lion heads or sixi (lucky four) meatballs, as you’d usually make four.

If you’d like a further touch of the autumn, you can also add a few chopped water chestnuts to the mix. The most important thing is to use minced pork belly and not a leaner mince, as it really makes a difference to how light and tender the meatballs turn out in the end. Continue reading “Giant “Lion Head” Meatballs (Shi Zi Tou)”


Shredded Potato in White Vinegar (Cu Liu Tu Dou Si)

Potato is such a versatile ingredient – boil it, bake it, mash it, make chips with it… or shred it for this stir fry recipe. This simple recipe tastes just as good once the potatoes have gone cold, so it’s a refreshing one to try (despite the spice) now that the weather’s hotter. What gives this its refreshing nature is the vinegar. Usually in Chinese cooking, when you mention vinegar, you’d automatically think of black vinegar from Zhenjiang. However, here you should go for white wine vinegar instead. Continue reading “Shredded Potato in White Vinegar (Cu Liu Tu Dou Si)”


Prawns, Sweet Peas and Strawberries Stir-Fry

There are plenty of delicious sweet recipes with strawberries,  but savoury recipes with strawberries are harder to find, usually in the form of strawberry salads. That’s partly because while other fruits such as apple and pineapple have made the crossover, strawberry changes taste so quickly when cooked. Just 15 seconds in the pan increases how sour it tastes by one fold, it seems! Continue reading “Prawns, Sweet Peas and Strawberries Stir-Fry”


Double Layer Milk (Shuang Pi Nai)

Chinese desserts are relatively few and far between, but there are a few special ones that can be hard to get in the shops, and this double layer/skin milk is one such dessert. The recipe dates back to the 1850s, and comes from the Canton region.

The key ingredients are full fat milk and egg whites – so it will give you plenty of proteins! It is also very easy to make, and the prep time only totals around 5 minutes, with a cooking time of roughly 20 minutes. However, there are quite lengthy cooling periods in between. You can also make it the day before and keep it chilled in the fridge! Continue reading “Double Layer Milk (Shuang Pi Nai)”

Sardinian eel pie (Panada di anguille)

Easter has come and gone, and in Sardinia many families have cooked a very traditional dish for special occasions: Sardinian panada. Many claim that this pie was created during the pre-nuragic period. I doubt so, judging by its similarities with empanadas, I would say that the idea was probably coming from our Spanish invaders. Legend says that the first place where it was cooked was a small town called Assemini, where back then fishing was the main activity. Hence, the panada di anguille, filled with eels is the classic version, which is also the one I’m presenting to you today. However, ingredients are easy to change: for the Easter holidays for example, the preferred filling would be lamb meat, accompanied by potatoes or other veggies. Continue reading “Sardinian eel pie (Panada di anguille)”