Wednesday, 18 February 2015

East Meets West: Plum Duck and Sausage Pizza Dumplings

Dumplings. Hot damn do I love me some dumplings. And with it being Chinese New Year up in this joint, I decided to make my own for dinner. What could go wrong?

It was halfway through my 8th pork dumpling dipped in vinegar and soy sauce that I realised serving them as a main course could actually be a violation of the Geneva Convention. There’s no taste variation, they’re waaaay more filling than you remember them, and they pretty quickly become a chore to keep eating. The law of diminishing returns is strong with these. But I still really wanted a way to make dumplings work as a main, because they're too much effort for just a starter or side.

So I mooched around for a day, wondering how I could make them better. More than one flavour would help, but most dumplings still wind up tasting pretty similar to a western palette. Which is when it struck me: Don't confine yourself to just Asian flavourings. So I made one set of dumplings inspired by shredded duck pancakes, and the other... by pizza. East meets west. Italianese!

The second problem I found with dumplings from my first attempt was how repetitive it is to make the damn wrappers (and no, I won't just buy them from the shop! What kind of operation do you think I'm running here?). But I solved that too, as you will see.

You truly are a visionary. The hero we need, but don’t deserve.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Chile Con Veggie and Pale Ale Tortillas

I’ve been trying real hard to think of more vegetarian recipes for this blog. Unfortunately, my thought process usually goes:

Meat -> Things that go with said meat -> Recipe.

So I haven’t been hugely successful in that department. Meat simply makes almost everything more awesome. I’m just holding out for bacon ice-cream… wait, that’s already a thing?! Well then. Game-set-match, I guess. But taking a break from meat for a couple of days a week is probably a good idea. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and all that. Or grow healthier, either works.

As awesome as Chile con Carne is, there’s so much going on besides the meat that it makes a great candidate for going full veggie. The trick to a great chile is to use way more chillies than you think could possibly be safe. Just remove all the seeds and ribs, and I promise it won’t taste like the surface of the sun. And once you smother it in cheese, sour cream, avocado and lime juice before bundling it into a warm, fluffy, beer infused wrap… yeah, you won’t miss the meat. You’ll be too busy proposing to your veggie burrito.

Now for the elephant in the room. Choice of spelling. I call the pepper a “chilli”, because I’m Irish. And due to a rather long and colourful history, that means I speak English of the Queen’s variety, as opposed to the Ronald McDonald dialect. I call the dish “chile”, because, in case the “con carne” didn’t give it away, it’s Spanish. As in “not English”. So with that cleared up, let’s be on our way.

Less linguistics, more cooking.