The new world of technology has thrown my parents a little. They're getting with the times and have mobile phones and an iPad which they love using. But compared to when they were growing up and working, technology has meant that there are a whole new range of jobs that didn't before exist.
Mr NQN works at a news site in the technical department as a "product architect." One evening my mother leaned over to him and asked him if he was the one responsible for writing the news on the internet. Ever cheeky, he smiled and said "Yes I write whatever I want. I made up the whole "Polar Vortex" thing!". They adore his cheeky sense of humour and simply laugh in response.
Every time we go over to their house for dinner, they make sure that they cook enough vegetables for their favourite (well, and only) son in law. My mother also makes sure that she cooks my favourite things which is very nice indeed. One dish that she had made many times while we were growing up is steamed egg custard.
You may have more commonly had this at Japanese restaurants served as chawanmushi. The egg takes on a wobbly, silken texture combined with mushroom slivers, prawns and dashi. The Chinese version and certainly this version is more strongly flavoured as opposed to chawanmushi's softly softly approach. This is topped with a flavoured pork mince and shiitake mixture.
Guinea fowl eggs
This is one of my favourite weeknight dishes because it's about 20 minutes from beginning to end. I love the way that the silken egg contrasts with the bold pork mince topping. If you want to make this vegetarian you could also use firm tofu minced up too. We were lucky enough to use guinea fowl eggs from the farm visit after New Year's but regular chicken eggs are normally used.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you have one of those hard to figure out jobs? And do you get along with your in laws?
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Steamed Silken Egg Custard
An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
- 4-5 eggs (to make 2/3 cup of egg)
- 1 cup water or stock
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 4 shiitake mushrooms, sliced and stem removed (if dried, rehydrate them in hot water for 10 minutes)
- 1/4 cup slices green onions
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 250g/0.5 pound pork mince (you can also substitute this with ground up firm tofu)
- 4-5 tablespoons shaoxing wine
- 3 tablespoons hoi sin sauce
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- white pepper
Step 1 - Take a metal or steamer proof bowl or dish with sides. I used a dish that was 20cms/8 inches in diameter and 1 inch deep. If yours is large, adjust the egg amount accordingly up or down. Whisk the eggs with the water or stock. Place the dish in a steamer fitted with a trivet and pour the egg mixture into the dish (I find it easier than levering a dish full of custard into the steamer). Steam for 15 minutes or until the centre is set.
Step 2 - While the egg is steaming, fry the topping. Heat the oil in a frypan and fry the mushrooms, onions and garlic until fragrant and then add the pork mince making sure to break it down into small pieces. Once the mince has browned, add the shaoxing wine, hoi sin sauce, soy sauce, sesame seeds, sugar and a sprinkling of white pepper. Toss to coat the pork evenly in the sauce.
Step 3 - Remove the custard from the steamer and top with the pork mince mixture.