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  1. Some thoughts on Chinese dim sum, the morsels that make up yum cha…

    No one in their right mind makes dim sum at home. It is time consuming and best done in large batches. So it is left to dim sum masters, though these days the supermarket versions are machine made.

    As a child I learned to make most of the yum cha staples but we did it because Australia’s yum cha restaurant scene was small at the time. The best doughs are sticky and tricky.

    To make the dumplings you’re best served doing them in large batches and then freezing them uncooked. And to do this you need a gang of nimble fingered ‘aunties’ to fill and pleat them before the wrappers dry out and so you can get them quickly into the freezer on trays.

    And this is the way you can buy them. I get my frozen stash from Hong Kong Dim Sum in Box Hill or Linx in South Melbourne. They wholesale to restaurants.

    To prepare the steamed ones, line your steamer with a cloth like the one pictured. The dumplings will never stick and you can lift the whole lot out in one go by lifting the cloth. You can buy these at Asian hospitality ware stores and I have seen them in Daiso. You need never lose you XLB juices to the steamer again.

    My other tip is to handle them with bamboo cooking chopsticks. Dumplings will stick to plastic ones and tongs will tear delicate dumpling skins. Traditionally extra long chopsticks are used in Asian cooking and with use they become well seasoned with oil like a well loved wok.

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  2. I thought I’d put out too much food for afternoon tea but Mr Sticki hoovered up 90% of it.

    Clockwise: from the top: cha sui bao (BBQ pork steamed buns); har gau, (steamed prawn dumplings); jia won ton (fried pork & prawn dumplings with water chestnut and a sweet sour dipping sauce featuring ginger syrup, rice vinegar, pickled veg & tomato purée); steamed mustard greens dressed with hot oil left from frying the dumplings; fung jiao (chicken feet braised with salted black beans and garlic)

    Tip: in a traditional Chinese no waste kitchen the oil used when deep frying is strained and put aside for stir frying and dressings. The oil will have rounded out after this use and possibly have the benefit of some flavour infused into it.

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  3. Tender, tasty Uyghur style diced @plainspaddock Dorper lamb, wrapped and rocking my world with cabbage, cavalo nero, carrot, garlic and onion, a smear of sesame mayo and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses

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  4. Cucina Povera for Winter. A soup of beans, split peas and various lentils cooked a small piece of the skin from a smoked ham hock, carrot and onion. Finished it with a handful of risoni, homemade fiery lecso and the dry part of leek leaves that people usually discard.

    On the side, my homemade wholewheat honey, rye and wholemeal roll with @thebutterfactor confit garlic butter

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  5. The Bread Workout.

    My sourdough mother died in the extreme conditions this last Summer. A month ago I got started on another with organic rye, after fermenting a bunch of grapes grapes specifically for the purpose. She’s not quite ready to use without adding yeast in a loaf but has a lovely flavour already. I feed her by adding back dough from each loaf and baking with the extraction.

    These wholewheat wholemeal and rye rolls had the addition of raw honey and buttermilk. The dough was extra sticky and definitely needed the French 600 folds approach to hand kneading.
    They were part of a large batch that was three days in the making. But it showed me that I had under kneaded some of my loaves in the past, particularly when hurrying through the process and only proving twice.

    Making bread has been a slow learning curve for me. I often think you need an apprenticeship to learn the nuances and indicators in assessing how to approach the dough. And I have acquired an appreciation for why artisan breads cost a lot more than high volume bread for the masses.

    Proper handmade bread is a commitment, an upper body workout and something truly special, especially when simply spread with @thebutterfactor butter.

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  6. Knee trembling good: Twice cooked chicken wings, pomegranate glaze & crushed pistachios at @sezarrestaurant #myclient #latergram #foodporn (at SEZAR restaurant)

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  7. Beetroot salad at @sezarrestaurant #latergram (at SEZAR restaurant)

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  8. Armenian Mani - spanner crab dumplings, sumac yoghurt & chilli oil at @sezarrestaurant #myclient #latergram (at SEZAR restaurant)

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  9. Grain salad, toasted nuts, labne and shoots at @sezarrestaurant #latergram #myclient (at SEZAR restaurant)

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  10. Cured ocean trout apple & fennel salad, crème fraiche & roe at @sezarrestaurant #latergram #myclient (at SEZAR restaurant)

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  11. Crisp spinach & feta boreg with Aleppo mayo at @sezarrestaurant #latergram #myclient (at SEZAR restaurant)

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  12. Potato & Soujak kofte with red pepper aioli at @sezarrestaurant #latergram #myclient (at SEZAR restaurant)

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  13. Seared Hervey Bay scallops, cauliflower puree, cumin caramel & zaatar at @sezarrestaurant #latergram #myclient (at SEZAR restaurant)

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  14. At @sezarrestaurant oysters dressed with compressed apple & anise #latergram #myclient (at SEZAR restaurant)

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  15. A delicious jumble of farmers’ market goodies. A softened Spring Creek Organics leek and Wehill Farm garlic in Myrtleford @thebutterfactor, added @warialdabeef chorizo. Then in went steamed Westernport mussels and Wakame, pepper and parsley. I served them Belgian style with frîtes - tasty!

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