The Domestic Gourmet – Adeline
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
This quote from Coco Chanel epitomises the next person featured in this series – my eldest sister Adeline. She has never been afraid to speak her mind, particularly when she believes an injustice is taking place. Adeline is strong, fearless and creative. She is always keen to learn new skills and try new things, whether it’s taking cake decorating and flower arrangement classes, or learning the saxophone. As well as this, she has worked hard in her professional life to become a senior business analyst in IT.
However, things have changed somewhat, now that she’s a mother of two rambunctious and adorable little boys. Priorities have switched. In typical Adeline-style though, she has risen to the challenge of cooking food which her sons, as well as herself and her husband, will enjoy. This is the inspiration behind the recipes she has contributed – they are adapted from Annabel Langbein recipes and are both healthy and fuss-free to make at home.
She also finds inspiration in trying different ingredients that are versatile and can be used across different types of cuisines. Her favourite cuisine is Japanese, although she admits that she doesn’t cook it very often at home.
One of the best food experiences Adeline has ever experienced was dining at The Flower Drum in Melbourne. But that isn’t to say that she only enjoys formal dining – one of her favourite places to eat used to be a little dumpling shop on Auckland’s Dominion Road: “It was run by a mum who was out back cooking and her tween son [who] would take the orders. I was very gutted when they closed.”
Her tastes are very much influenced by her upbringing and she hopes that she can improve at cooking Chinese food given her heritage. Adeline points out that she doesn’t really dislike any type of food as “we were taught to try everything and to eat everything”, but she does admit to not liking stews – probably because of the “slop-like nature” of it and possibly because, “Dad made us try possum stew once – ick!”.
Adeline remembers how our father loved to cook feasts in the weekend for the family when we were growing up – he would choose a cuisine such as Japanese and create a menu with different courses and all the trimmings. Dad was adventurous at these times, even trying things which were not very easily recreated at home, such as making fried fondue. Perhaps this is where Adeline’s fearlessness at trying new things comes from.
One cooking skill she would love to master is making sweets. She tells me that this is because “it is one of the few areas of cooking that has been a complete failure” for her. And knowing Adeline, this is a challenge she will no doubt overcome in the near future.
Adeline’s market noodle salad
1 clove garlic
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Thai sweet chilli sauce
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1 chopped spring onion
handful of coriander leaves
4-5 Tbsp warm water
1-2 Tbsp honey
350-400g dried udon or soba noodles cooked to packet instructions
1/4 C roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
1 finely chopped spring onion
2 Tbsp chopped coriander or mint leaves
1 Lebanese cucumber, cut into small batons
1 red pepper, diced
1 carrot, grated
Whizz all the dressing ingredients in a food processor until semi-smooth.
Toss salad ingredients with the dressing until combined and serve at room temperature.
Adeline’s Thai chicken kebabs
2 chicken breasts cut into 10cm x 2cm strips (or you can use chicken tenderloins)
1/4 C Thai sweet chilli sauce
1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp lime juice (or lemon juice)
1 lime, cut into wedges, to serve
Soak bamboo skewers to prevent them from burning.
Mix together the Thai sweet chilli sauce, fish sauce and lime juice together. Marinate the chicken strips in this mixture for at least 20 minutes. or up to 4 hours, in the fridge.
Push skewers up the length of the chicken strips.
Cook skewers on a rack in the oven on fan grill at 200 degrees Celsius for approximately 5 minutes each side, or until cooked through. Use the remaining marinade to baste chicken before putting in the oven and then again when turning skewers over.
Serve with lime wedges and market noodle salad.
Adeline’s extra notes: you can barbecue the chicken if you prefer. I use spaghetti for the salad which seems to hold the dressing well. If I am disorganised, sometimes I don’t even skewer the chicken.
Rice & Kai notes: a tasty and healthy meal which doesn’t take long to make. You could use less noodles and add more vegetables to the salad if you like. A drizzle of sesame oil at the end would finish the salad off nicely too.