More and more, people are becoming self-confessed “foodies”. The fact that we have greater access to a wide variety of cuisines mean people are much more aware of different types of food and cooking styles. Auckland, like a lot of other major cities, is fast becoming a place where people are more adventurous about eating and you will now see people going out for meals at all sorts of eateries. However, in this growing culture of going out for meals, I think it’s important to not lose sight of the food we eat at home. This food comes from our histories – what we grew up eating, what we’ve learnt along the way, and most importantly, what has been cooked for us by those who love us.
Food has always been something which connects people and it nourishes both body and soul. I’ve decided to start a new series on the blog, titled The Domestic Gourmet. As you can see from the logo, it will be about celebrating those who take the time to create good food at home. They are not necessarily people who make the fanciest meals (though some do fall into that category), but those who express their care for others through the food they cook.
Each post in this series will be a profile of one of these people. Each person is asked to contribute a recipe of theirs, which I recreate at home and then get the hubby to take photos of. This will be included in each post.
I sincerely hope you enjoy getting to know these extraordinary people and also enjoy cooking their recipes!
The Domestic Gourmet – Adrienne
A digital and accounts executive, an avid and talented sportsperson, a caring and loyal friend, a non-stop talker, a leader, a doting aunty, a twin and the youngest of five children. Who is the first person to be profiled? This is Adrienne, my little sister. My bubbly, geographically challenged, recently married, quirky little sister.
Adrienne lives in Melbourne with her husband where, despite all the fantastic eateries available, she still takes the time and effort to cook good food at home. She looks out for recipes which don’t take much time to prepare as they are both busy people. This was the inspiration behind her pork wonton recipe – good food made quickly. The recipe is a result of adapting and combining a whole lot of recipes until she settled on a flavour of wonton that both her and her husband enjoy.
Five ingredients you will always find in her kitchen are soy sauce, garlic, tinned tomatoes, onions and frozen peas. What does she do to make life easier when cooking? “Clean as you go – it keeps you from cross-contaminating any food, plus it makes cleaning up at the end that much easier!”
Not surprisingly, she is influenced by her cultural background; one cooking skill she would love to master is learning how to make zong (or zongzi – glutinous rice stuffed with fillings, wrapped in flat leaves and then steamed). That isn’t to say that she loves all things typical of Malaysian/Chinese cooking – she isn’t a fan of water chestnuts (“texturally offensive”) and hates cooked lettuce (“just why would you cook lettuce?!”).
One of her favourite childhood memories is typically Kiwi. We grew up in Mangere Bridge and had two large feijoa trees in the backyard. She remembers going to pick the feijoas with her twin brother and then having her older sisters (including me!) slice them in half for them to eat as they were too little to do it for themselves. Sometimes we would take the time to cut them up in cool shapes for them as well. This memory, I think, serves to illustrate the point of The Domestic Gourmet series perfectly – food is a way for us to show care and love for others.
Adrienne’s pork wontons
To wrap the wontons, add a teaspoon of the pork mixture to the middle of the wonton wrapper, dab water along the two edges then fold to make a triangle ensuring there is no air in the pouch. Add a dab of water to the top corner and fold the two bottom corners to just cross at the top of the wonton. (Cook’s note: this is a terrible explanation but you can do it any way that you’re used to.)
To cook, bring your chosen soup stock to the boil, drop the wontons in, wait until they float to the top and leave for an extra minute. From there, they should be cooked.
To freeze, place the uncooked wontons onto a tray lined with baking paper making sure that the wontons don’t touch. Once frozen, these can just be bundled into a bag.
Adrienne’s extra notes: these probably can be deep fried but I haven’t tried! I serve these with both kon low mee or in a soup broth. I’ve also used different noodles like udon, egg noodles or whatever is lying around. I also always serve them with a side of soy sauce and chilli.
Rice & Kai notes: wonton soup is one of my favourite meals. This is a great recipe as the pork ends up being well seasoned. If your wrappers are floury, then it would probably be best that you cook your wontons in a separate pot of water and then add them to the soup. I serve mine with bak choy which I also cook in the soup and garnish it with chopped spring onions. You could substitute some of the pork mince with chopped prawn meat. You could also substitute some of the mince with fatty pork mince (or maybe that’s just how I roll).