Sunday, June 01, 2008

Weekend Wokking 1: Asparagus

So, Wandering Chopsticks has a blog event: Weekend Wokking.

Now, I love blog events, but I'm crap at entering them because, well, they occur too frequently. And frequency is not one of my blogging strong points (had you noticed?). But this event is MONTHLY. I can do monthly. Perhaps...

What I can't do, is use a wok in the UK. This is because we left our wok back home. It's a proper steel wok, that my partner got given as a present when he moved out of home. When I moved out of home, my brother and his-then-girlfriend-now-wife gave me a rice cooker and a 25kg bag of rice. One of my sisters gave me a block of knives (without telling my mother because giving knives as presents is a Viet no-no).

Also, we do not have gas - we have a weird electric stove top thing. The first night that I cooked on it, I was very upset: my rice noodles overboiled and spilt all over the stove top and I freaked out about whether or not the stain would come off. All throughout dinner, I was very, very quiet. This is not a good sign with me. I am a chirper. I chirp away on most occassions. Being quiet is indication that Something Is Wrong. I tried to be chirpy and happy because it was our first home-cooked dinner, in our new house, but I was already worrying about not getting our bond back for having ruined the stove top.

There's a happy ending: the over-boiled rice noodles water just wiped away real easy like.

Since moving into our new house, we have got what I always wanted but never bothered with in Australia and did not get in the little flat - organic veg box home delivery. In Australia, we enjoyed our regular traipse down to the Green Markets so much that getting a veg box home delivered would have spoiled the fun. In the little flat, there was no way the veg-box would actually get delivered to us, and no guarantee that someone else would not take our veg-box goodies.

One of the (many) wonderful things about veg-box home delivery is the seasonal produce. And currently in season, in the northern hemisphere, is asparagus.

Did you know asparagus makes your wee smell funny? And, though it makes everyone's wee smell funny, only about 40% of the population can smell the asparagus-wee-smell. Don't believe me? Surely you believe wikipedia? So, for all those participating in Wandering Chopsticks' Weekend Wokking for May/June, there will be a confluence of asparagus-smelling-wee. Great, huh?

Wandering Chopsticks informs me that a wok is not necessary for Weekend Wokking and, therefore, my entry follows below. It is a pretty pathetic entry, because I only had this weekend. Had I a whole month, I might have come up with something more interesting. I did not do anything special with the asparagus - just cooked it ever so slightly, to enjoy its full, fresh flavour. So, this probably doesn't count as an asparagus recipe, but I'm submitting it anyway. Just to get started.

Weekend Fry-up with vege sausages, asparagus, grilled tomato, eggs over-easy and a kohl-rabi & snow pea salad

Weekends are for long breakfasts. I love hot cooked breakfasts. Weekday mornings are for eating something nutritious and then rushing to work. Weekend mornings (if we're not rushing to some fun activity) are for lingering over breakfast, newspaper spread out, chilled music playing.

What you will need for two breakfasters:-

The Fry-up
  • Sausages
  • One medium onion, sliced
  • Eggs (one per person, or more if your persons are greedy)
  • Tomato (half per person)
  • Fresh asparagus spears
  • Non-stick saucepan or griddle, if you're brave. I covet griddles, but have not yet purchased one.

The Salad

  • Dressing: wholegrain mustard, extra virgin olive oil, cider vinegar, cracked pepper
  • Cherry tomatoes, a handful, halved
  • Kohl-rabi, about the same amount as your cherry tomatoes, diced
  • Snow peas (mange-tout for the British, and maybe elsewhere too, I don't know!), roughly same amount as cherry tomatoes, cut into little bits
  • Red capsicum (or red pepper for you English and Americans), same amount as cherry tomatoes, diced
  • Lettuce leaves (I used baby gem, but any will do)
  • A bowl
What to do:-

The key to a good fry up is timing. I used vege sausages, which take longer to cook on lower heat than meat sausages, so bear that in mind if you're going to replicate this with meat.

Make the salad first. In the bowl in which you will mix your salad, take a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard and mix with a teaspoon of oil. When well blended, add a dash of vinegar and whizz like a maniac. Now add in your halved cherry tomatoes, diced kohl-rabi, snow peas and capsicum. Grind some black pepper in.

Wash the lettuce leaves and leave to dry.


Slice onion, and fry with a small amount of oil. Before the onion gets translucent, add the sausages and let fry on a low heat, checking and turning every now and then.

Halve a tomato and place cut side down onto the saucepan. Push it about it bit to make sure it doesn't stick to the pan, but otherwise ignore.

Wash asparagus. Holding firmly in the middle, break off the woody end. Wherever it snaps, thus is your asparagus. If the whole spear bends, you do not have good asparagus.

When the sausages are brown all around, add the asparagus spears. Cover saucepan with a lid so that the asparagus cooks through in a steamed fashion. Remove and place onto pre-warmed serving plates.

Flip tomato onto its round outside. Push sausages, onion and tomato to one side, so that there's enough room to fry some eggs. Break eggs carefully into saucepan and don't let them mix with the sausages, onion or tomato. When the albumen has turned from translucent to white, turn the heat off and flip over to get that over-easy feeling.

Arrange your plates: lettuce leaves on one edge, forming a bowl for the salad. Asparagus on the other edge, sausages etc in the middle. Serve with crusty bread, chutney, chilli sauce and soy sauce for the egg, if you're me.

Have understanding partner on hand, who will wait while you take some photos of breakfast before digging in. Understanding partner will laugh at the soy sauce. This is permissible, provided it is done with a measure of affection. No mockery allowed.



I'm submitting this recipe to Weekend Wokking, a world-wide food blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks celebrating the multiple ways we can cook one ingredient.

The host this month is Wandering Chopsticks.

If you would like to participate or to see the secret ingredient, check who's hosting next month.


Hedgehog said...

I didn't know that asparagus makes your wee smells funny. Never thought of having asparagus for breakfast/brunch though. I guess I've got to try it soon:D P.S: i have a crap electric stove as well, you can't stir fry things properly with them arrrrgh

Eliane said...

I always thought it was that only some of us produce the odd (Proust must have worn some strange perfumes...) smell. In our family we can all smell it. Don't mind too much but I do remember that it's not so good feeding asparagus to nappy-wearing babies.

p.s. thanks for the comments on Bokashi.

Wandering Chopsticks said...

Ahem, per a Sex and the City episode. Asparagus also does other funny things too.

Oanh said...

Hedgehog - if you did not know taht asparagus makes your wee smell funny, you are part of the 60% of the population who cannot smell it :-)

Eliane - Wikipedia can't be wrong. It just can't be.

tee hee re asparagus wee smelling nappies...

Wandering Chopsticks - you are going to have to elaborate, as I have only ever watched one episode of Sex and the City ... what else can this asparagus do...or ... will that attract unsavoury google keywords?

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