Popcorn chicken

This is a firm family favourite, of course it is, it involves deep frying, but the chicken is so so tasty I can see past the painfulness of cleaning up post fry.

Although, I read it somewhere that the trick with deep frying at home is to do it in a really deep saucepan so your stovetop and surrounds don’t end up slicked with oil and they were right! You still get splatter but nothing like what I was getting using a wok.

So my main suggestions here are to make sure you use the right flour for dusting – sweet potato/potato/tapioca flour is what you’re looking for. Keep the bits of chicken nice and small so you can pop them in your mouth. Marinate the chicken for as long as possible. And don’t think of bypassing the spice salt, it, like a good salad dressing, makes the dish.

Popcorn chicken with five spice salt

Popcorn chicken
Delicious little bite-sized pieces of fried chicken with an earthy five-spice salt
For the chicken
  • 1kg boneless chicken thighs cut into small bite-sized pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp shaoxing wine
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • scant tsp of Chinese five spice powder
  • Sweet potato flour (also known as tapioca flour, I often use straight potato flour)
Five spice salt
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • ¼ tsp five spice
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • pinch of chilli powder
  1. Toss the chicken with the marinade and set aside for as long as you've got
  2. Toss the chicken in the potato flour - I am very gung-ho at this step, I'm sure you're meant to go gently and toss a few bits at a time but I chuck the whole bag of flour in a large bowl and dump the chicken in and toss to thoroughly coat
  3. Heat the oil and then fry the chicken in batches for about 3 minutes until nice and golden. Again, I know the cardinal rule of not overcrowding the fry but last time I did the whole 1kg of chicken in just three batches and guess what, it worked! I will leave this to your better judgement and patience
  4. Skim out any bits between batches and secretly eat
  5. Drain on paper towel
For the salt
  1. Combine all the ingredients and then scatter over the cooked chicken.


Five spice salt

Zucchini fritters

A fantastic vegetarian dinner option, zucchini and haloumi fritters with mint and dill.

Remember the time-consuming but delicious zucchini gratin? Jasper has been requesting it with increasing desperation over the last few weeks but I just didn’t have the emotional fortitude or stamina to go there. I’m blaming the relentless heat and humidity over these past months.

So when I saw a Neil Perry recipe for zucchini fritters on the SMH website I hoped I’d struck a middle ground. I’ve added some mint to my recipe and would encourage you to do the same.

These were an absolute sensation, heading straight to the pool room of family dinner winners. You could even make smaller ones as a finger food option. Don’t think the yoghurt sauce is optional – as is always the case when there’s a sauce on the side it lifts the meal from yum to YUM!

zucchini fritter mixture

Zucchini fritters
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A fantastic vegetarian dinner option
Serves: 18+ fritters
  • 1 kg zucchini, grated
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 200 g haloumi cheese, grated
  • 100 g stale white breadcrumbs
  • 1 heaped tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 heaped tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • lots of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs
For the yoghurt sauce
  • 1 cup thick Greek yoghurt
  • Grated zest from half a lemon
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • pinch of sea salt
For the fritters
  1. Using a food processor grate the zucchinis then toss with the salt in a colander and set in the sink to drain for an hour.
  2. Use the same grater blade to grate the haloumi which you're going to then tip into a mixing bowl
  3. Change the attachment and blitz your stale bread into fine breadcrumbs
  4. Mix the haloumi, breadcrumbs and herbs together while you wait for the zucchini
  5. In the meantime, make the yoghurt sauce by mixing the four ingredients together
  6. After an hour or so, squeeze as much liquid out of the zucchini as you can. When you think you've squeezed it all out go in for another round
  7. Mix the zucchini and the eggs in with the other ingredients
  8. You want to work quickly now
  9. Heat some oil in a pan, you want to shallow fry them, then shape the mixture into patties a bit bigger than a golf ball. You can really make them as big or as small as you like
  10. Cook for about two minutes on either side or until golden brown
  11. Serve with the yoghurt sauce.




Spring Rolls

So I made these a year ago and then promptly forgot I had ever done such a thing. Bizarrely last week Felix said, remember when you made spring rolls, and I was all, NEVER! Then, serendipitously I fell upon the very post where I talked about them.

Start of spring rolls for #everyfuckingnight
Start of spring rolls for #everyfuckingnight

These are easily vegetarian – just omit the chicken mince (derr) – or turned into a pork version by using pork instead of chicken mince (double derr).

Yes, rolling 40 spring rolls is painful but this is where having 100 kids becomes useful. Sure they might not look perfect (there are spring roll perfectionists who insist they must be tighly and very evenly rolled – no hanging over the edges – so they don’t absorb too much oil) but I only shallow fry them and they sure turned out a treat.

Chicken spring rolls for #everyfuckingnight!
Chicken spring rolls for #everyfuckingnight!
Spring Rolls with cucumber dipping sauce
Sensational spring rolls you can have with meat or vego
For the spring rolls
  • 10-15 shitake mushrooms, stems removed, thinly sliced
  • 100g rice vermicelli noodles
  • 500g chicken or pork mince (optional)
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 carrots, peeled and julienned
  • 4-5 Chinese wombok cabbage leaves, finely shredded
  • 2 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
For the cucumber dipping sauce
  • 160 ml water
  • 120 ml white vinegar
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 1 to 1½ large telegraph cucumber
  • 1 red chilli (optional)
  1. Cover the noodles with boiling water and sit for 6 minutes or until soft
  2. Drain really really well - you want to try and avoid a soggy filling
  3. Combine all the vegetable ingredients in a large bowl - mix it all together, have a taste, add some more mushrooms or carrot or cabbage if needed/desired
  4. Heat a wok, add a dash of oil and then fry the mince until browned and any liquid that cooks out of it has evaporated
  5. Add all the vegetables and sauces and stir until well combined and cooked through
  6. Let it cool a bit until it's easy to handle
  7. Take a spring roll sheet and then follow the instructions on the packet! (how's that for methodology!) There are also great you tube clips off it if needed.
  8. Heat about 1cm of oil in a frypan then cook in batches over a mod-high heat - they will only take about 3-4 mins
For the cucumber dipping sauce
  1. Bring the water, vinegar and sugar to the boil and the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat
  2. Cut the cucumber lengthways and scrape out the flesh the cut up into small dice
  3. Combine and leave to cool.

Steamed coconut buns

Quick and easy steamed buns to serve with pork or stir-fries

The first time I saw this recipe I refused to believe it was so easy. It comes from Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute meals book and I’ve used it time and time again. He creates a great chicken dim sum recipe with them but the buns were a bigger hit than the chicken in my house. There’s a great cucumber pickle he served with it though which I’ve put below.

Check out my buns
Check out my buns

The main thing to remember with these is to not over mix them. Jamie does it in a food processor (for speed basically) but I generally do it by hand because washing a food processor is a bastard of a thing I actively try to avoid.

Think of it  – loosely – like a scone dough. Bring it together, form a log, portion it and voila!

Dongpo (think slow cooked in soy) pork w/steamed buns for #everyfuckingnight
Dongpo (think slow cooked in soy) pork w/steamed buns for #everyfuckingnight

Steamed coconut buns
Fantastic Chinese steamed buns
Cuisine: Chinese
  • 1 400g tin coconut milk
  • 2 heaped cans full of SR flour
  • Good pinch of salt
  1. Tip the coconut milk into a bowl
  2. Add the flour and salt and bring together into a dough
  3. Tip onto a floured benchtop, roll into a log, then break into 8 even pieces
  4. Place each piece into a muffin case and put them into a bamboo steamer, they should be quite snug
  5. Put a wok over high heat and fill about 10cm deep with water, bring to the boil
  6. Put the steamer over the top of the water and cook for 10 minutes

Quick cucumber pickle
A quick cucumber pickle which brightens any meal!
  • 1 telegraph cucumber (or 2 Lebanese cucumbers)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (or white vinegar)
  1. Peel the cucumber into long strips using a vegetable peeler or slice very thinly
  2. Mix with the soy and vinegar
  3. THAT'S IT!


Dongpo Pork

An easy recipe for dongpo pork, pork belly slowly cooked in soy, rice wine and ginger

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I have a group of friends that range from school days, through university and up to Twitter who try to get together once every four to six weeks to have dumplings. We call ourselves the Twitter Lunch Club, TLC for short, which is appropriate because sometimes emergency dumpling summits are held if one of us is in crisis.

Dongpo (think slow cooked in soy) pork w/steamed buns for #everyfuckingnight
Dongpo (think slow cooked in soy) pork w/steamed buns for #everyfuckingnight

One of the dishes we have at our favourite dumpling establishment is this pork dish, served at room temperature which is covered in this thick, sweet, addictive sauce. I can’t recall what it’s called on the menu, we sit there and reel off dish numbers to minimise delay in getting food on the table.

But I’m here to tell you I have replicated it. I’m certain it will take me a couple more goes to perfect it but sweet LORD it is good.

As with basically everything I cook it is not technically hard but this one does take time. I actually did it over two days because I realised after I’d started I’d really left my run too late.

Dongpo pork, stage 1.
Dongpo pork, stage 1.

This recipe for dongo pork (best name ever) comes from my current favourite cookbook, Adam Liaw’s Asian Cookery School. He won Australian Masterchef a few years back and has done so much to make Asian cookery more accessible to those of us wary of the wok.

Dongpo pork, stage 2.
Dongpo pork, stage 2.

I bought my pork belly from an Asian butcher, their pork is always far superior to what you get at a skippy* one.

The glistening jewels of dongpo pork.
The glistening jewels of dongpo pork.

Dongpo Pork
Sweet, earthy fatty morsels of pork belly slow cooked in soy and ginger
Cuisine: Chinese
  • 1kg pork belly
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ cup dark soy
  • ½ cup Shaoxing win
  • 4 tbsp yellow rock sugar (or caster sugar, which is what I used)
  • 1 tbsp Chinese tea leaves, steeped in one cup of hot water (I had Jasmine so used that, Adam says its optional)
  • 5 cm piece of ginger, peeled, sliced and bruised
  • 4 thick spring onions, cut into 5cm lengths (I didn't have any so used an onion)
  • rice or steamed buns to serve
  1. Place the pork in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a simmer.
  2. Simmer for 10 minutes
  3. Drain, rest until cool enough to handle and then cut into 7x5cm blocks
  4. Heat the peanut oil in a wok or frypan and brown off the pork in batches (I did this in my Le Creuset)
  5. Bring the sauces, wine, sugar and tea to the boil (Adam uses a claypot but says a Dutch oven or good heavy based saucepan will work)
  6. Add the ginger and spring onions
  7. Add the pork (Adam said skin side down but mine would play fairly so I ended up just dumping it all in) and then top up with water until the pork is covered
  8. Bring to the boil then simmer for around 2 hours or until the pork is very tender (I would recommend here making sure the pork is always covered in enough liquid as some of mine dried out a bit)
  9. Remove the pork with a slotted spoon and set aside
  10. Turn the heat back up and reduce to a thick glaze
  11. Pour over the pork and eat immediately with steamed buns or rice


You must make it immediately!



* Skippy, as in Skippy the kangaroo = anglo

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