Monday, 31 August 2015

Winter Warmer Spicy Beef Silverbeet Soup

Hello, It has been more than one year since my last post! Many things have happened in my life since last April 2014.  First, Sean and I have moved to Auckland to be close to my mum. Second, we have a baby boy, Hugh Choigo who is 9 months old now. 

My Irish Korean son Hugh Choigo Gibbons

Living in Auckland with a baby was a nice move for us. Sean has got a good job in one of the best sustainable engineering companies, New Zealand. We get invited to my parents often for dinner. However I miss Melbourne where there is a huge diverse culture that gave me inspiration. In particular, sustainable attitude is far better in Melbourne than Auckland. Not many people in Auckland are fussed about organic or free range food compare to Melbourne. My mum believes all food in New Zealand is free range, but I am not sure. Sean & I believe we are responsible to support ethical farmers that should grow and change food culture in a positive way. We are surrounded by so many processed foods nowadays.I buy lots of simple and basic ingredients- potato, kumera, onion (lots), carrots and slow cook meat. I have learnt those simple ingredients can make incredible tasty meal. My cooking has been adopted in way of being a mum and living in New Zealand. I am discovering basic simple ingredients for cooking again!

Luckily my mum has a beautiful vegetable garden which provide us with all our organic vegetables. My step mum brings organic eggs from friends who let hens run around the farm. They become my inspiration & ingredients. I grow herbs and salad on my balcony- flat parsley, chilly, strawberry, spring onion and salads.

Cherry Tomatoes in my mum's summer vegetable garden


Silverbeet in my mum's summer vegetable garden


' Less is more'  is my latest cooking trend. Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's three good things are my cooking in inspiration recently. Few basic ingredients make for a very tasty dinner. In fact, I am a big fan of his food philosophy. My baby name is name after Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, sort of.

Today my favorite, winter warmer recipe is Spicy Beef Silverbeet soup. It is my version of Korean Yuckgaejang 육계장. My three good ingredients are organic silverbeet from my mum's garden, Beef bone and Chilly. Cook a large batch and keep in the fridge for a week, even tastier. Its just comfy and delicious in winter or anytime!

Ingredients (Serves 6)

1.5kg beef bone for broth
500g beef rump steak (if beef bone doesn't have much meat)
2 onion
1 bag of Silverbeet
1 leek or 5 spring onions or 2 onions
4 garlic glove crushed
2 tbsp dried red chilly
3 tbsp grapeseed oil
soy sauce
black pepper ground
salt for season
sesame oil
fish sauce

1. Making beef broth, clean beef bone in cold water. Boil up the beef bones, half cut onion, 5L cold water in stock pot. Skim off scum and shimmer for 2~3 hours until meat pulling apart.

 2. Remove the stock pot from the heat. Drain stock and set aside. When the meat cools down, discard the bones and fat.  Keep lean meaty part. Shred the meat and, 2 tbsp soy sauce,1 tbsp sesame oil & 1 tsp of cracked black paper for seasoning. Set aside it.

3. Clean Silverbeet and leek.  Chop to small pieces.

4. For making chilly oil, fry 3 tbsp of grapseed oil and 2 tbsp of red chilly powder in a pot for 2 ~3 minutes. Add beef both and boil up. When boiling, add chopped leek, garlic and stock of silverbeet. Cook for 5 minutes until soft.

5. Add the seasoned shredded beef meat and silverbeet leafy parts cook for 15 ~20 minutes or until all coming together. Taste and season with fish sauce & salt. Serve with steamed rice.

A mild sunny day of Auckland winter

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Farm visit - Tamsin's Table

In March 2013, A year after our last visit, Sean and I revisited along with some close friends The Eye and Leaf farm owned and run by Tamsin. Since then, Tamsin has re-branded her farm cooking events as Tamsin's Table. She runs the Kitchen Harvest, Sunday Table and occasional special guest cooking events. (

We arrived at Tamsin's farm, Poowong East at around 10 am where we were welcomed by homemade lemon almond cake, freshly brewed tea and coffee.

We were given a shopping list for what vegetables we needed from the garden and a recipe leaflet on how to cook the dishes (see blackboard above). Two of the vegetables on the list, Zucchini and french peas were so sweet and tender that there was no need to cook, these were just simple added to the dishes and eaten raw.

Ready for garden picking

Tamsin picking fresh peas.

Tamsin feeding a one week old lamb as it mother has not taken to it yet.

When we came back from the garden, we teamed up into groups of 3. Each group was in charge of one of the courses on the menu. Sean and I chose to make eggplant & tomato ragu. Basically we made everything from scratch - little ear pasta(Orrechiette), basil pesto, pork fennel sausages & milk pudding.

Ervan and Mark making flour dough for Orrechiette.

Naomi slicing zucchini for starter menu.

Sean preparing eggplants to slice and salt for dehydration before grille.

Everybody focusing on own task. busy kitchen!

Sliced heirloom tomatoes before baking. 
I couldn't stop eat them, because fresh themselves are so sweet and delicious.
Tomato & Eggplants ragu after cooking in the oven, but not finished yet.

Tina making milk putting.

Ervan and Mark shaping little ear shapes for Orrechiette pasta

Glorious Orrechiette pasta is done!

Tea time in between busy cooking

Sean cleaning sausage case in vinegar water. Everybody had the chance of hands-on.

Tamsin demonstrated how to shape sausage.

Final sausage. 

One completed sausage was cooked slowly in pan. It was the first time making sausages for everyone.

Tamsin set up a table for the final feast.

Orrechiette fresh pea zucchini with pesto for starter

My favorite was great collection of leafy flowery salad pick straight from the garden. I wish I can have it at home everyday.

    Pork and fennel sausage with tomato eggplant ragu for main

Ragu was juicy and pack full of flavour. I thought it would be fabulous with pasta. (no meat option)

Milk pudding with rurbarb & rose gernaium

   Young Calf with its mother

Very happy pig getting a pamper

Mark, Naomi, Ervan & Cho

Tina & Tanya

Sean and me

I had a wonderful time at the farm visit. I loved picking up fresh ingredients from garden, cooking from scratch, having fun & sharing meals with friends, watching happy animals running around. I absolutely love Tamsin's courage and passion living her life the way she believes.

Thanks my dear friends & Tamsin for the wonderful day.