My mother and I were watching a show we both love not too long ago when we made a wonderful discovery. The show was ….dare I say it? Arguably uncool, totally nerdy but so what I love it Poirot. I like Agatha Christie’s novels and enjoy watching the Poirot and Miss Marple series.
The Poirot series is set in the 1930’s and we were admiring the art deco items from the time. My mother noticed the tea set from the episode we were watching and said it looked a lot like the dishes they’d had when she was a child. They were milky green, a bit transclucent and lovely. Before we left the Philippines she looked all over for another set but could never find any. For the last 27 years since we moved to Australia she had looked for these dishes at homeware and department stores but still could not find them.
So, when she mentioned it to me, I did a little bit of research the intuitive 2015 way……Google! Within minutes, we solved the mystery of the green dishes. My grandfather had worked as an aircraft mechanic for an American air base in the Philippines (before Philippines had their own airport, then he moved to Philippines Airlines) and consequently often bought American-made products from the base which he brought home. It turned out the dishes were jadeite plates and it made sense that my mother couldn’t find them in the Philippines or Australia because they appeared not to have been produced in either country. However, they were mass produced in the US and were inexpensive during the 1930s- 1970’s. They were manufactured by McKee (the first to produce these), Jeanette Glass Company and Anchor Hocking. Mosser Glass produces more modern jadeite pieces.
My search in sites like Ebay and Etsy led me to vintage jadeite plates while in Amazon.com I found a variety of new and old. They are collectable items these days and although they were reasonably priced, they turned out a little bit expensive in terms of postage and currency conversion. Interestingly, in my searches I could not find one single posting from Australia so I had to order them from overseas (most from the US, one from France).
After we discovered what the plates were, I have to admit I also fell in love with their beautiful mint green loveliness. I understand now why my mother loved them so much and it is nice to have a lovely part of history on our table.
For last night’s New Year’s Eve dinner, I decided to make Mixed Paella. The Paella is a rice dish that originates from Valencia, Spain. Although many forms of the dish exist, there are three types which are generally more well known, namely the Seafood Paella, Valencian Paella and the Mixed Paella.
The Mixed Paella is comprised of a mixture of seafood, meat, rice and vegetables. It’s a very delicious, festive and colourful dish. Ideal for celebrating the new year 🙂
The Paella is traditionally cooked in a paellera (a flat round pan with two handles) over an open fire and is served directly from the pan. If you don’t own a paellera, you can use a similar kind of flat pan which should also work fine.
To make this Mixed Paella you’ll need:
12 fresh tiger prawns
2 cups water
2 skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into serving pieces
4 chorizo sausages, cubed
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 green capsicum, chopped
1/2 red capsicum, chopped
3 cups medium grain rice
6 cups chicken or fish stock
1 can peeled tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped.
1 tsp saffron
Salt and pepper
1 medium lemon, sliced.
- Clean the mussels then place in a large pan with 1/2 cup of water. Steam until the shells open discarding any that remain closed. Set aside.
- Place the crabs and 1 1/2 cups or so of water in a separate pan and boil until cooked. Set aside.
- In your paellera (or your alternative cooking/serving pan) heat about 4 Tbs olive oil and brown the chicken. Set aside and keep warm.
- In the same pan, cook the chorizo. Transfer to a plate when cooked and keep warm.
- Add the prawns and cook for several minutes until the colour changes. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil.
- Sauté the garlic and onion.
- Add the chopped capsicum, tomato, rice and paprika. Stir until combined then reduce the heat to medium low.
- Add the saffron and 2 cups of the stock. Stir the rice until combined.
- Add the chicken and chorizo along with another 2 cups of the stock. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the remaining stock and simmer for a further 10 minutes or until the stock is absorbed. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in half the prawns.
- Quarter one crab and stir into the rice. Keep the other for garnishing.
- Arrange the crab, prawns and mussels on top of the rice.
- Turn off the heat and cover with a clean tea towel or with foil. Set aside for about 15-20 minutes.
- Garnish the dish with a few pieces of sliced lemon before serving.
It’s been a while since my last post as I have not had a lot of time (or to be honest, inclination) to blog over the past year. I had considered the idea of giving up food blogging altogether, but as it’s not generally my nature to give up something I have started, I decided that all it and I needed was a break from each other. I think occasionally, I need to take some time away from my passion in order to maintain my interest in it.
At any rate, here I am, back writing about one of my favorite topics. I’m also in the process of importing much of the content from an older blog into this new wordpress one. I don’t believe this recipe was transitioned, but as it is one of my favorite fish recipes, I will re-post it instead.
I don’t eat enough fish because I have very carnivore tastes. It usually takes a good slab of steak sizzling on the grill or lamb cutlets cooking over a barbecue to make my taste buds sing.
Although I don’t usually prefer fish if meat is an alternative, I really enjoy the delicate taste of salmon. This recipe for honey mustard salmon is super easy to prepare and is deliciously succulent. Although my taste buds never burst into spontaneous song when I eat fish, it does hum a tune for this lovely salmon.
4 Salmon cutlets
Approx 2 Tbs dijon mustard
Appox 2 Tbs honey
Approx 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 medium lemon
Salt and pepper
- Combine the mustard, honey and olive oil.
- Zest the lemon and add the zest and juice to the honey, mustard and oil.
- Rub salt and pepper into the salmon cutlets then add to the marinade. Refridgerate at least 30 mins.
- Preheat oven to about 200 degrees celsius and bake the salmon for about 15 mins or until golden and flaky.
Serve with steamed or stir-fried vegetables.
Ginataang Kalabasa is one of my favourite dishes and is delicious served on a bed of boiled Jasmine rice. You can pretty much use any cut of fish, chicken or meat with the dish. I prefer to use smoked cod, however my mother sometimes makes it with salted dried fish which is also great.
1 onion, chopped
1 head of garlic, finely chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups of cubed squash
2 Tbs fish paste
1 fillet of smoked cod, cut into cubes
3 pieces of filleted fish, cut into cubes
1/2 kilo of prawn, shelled and deveined (optional)
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup coconut cream
3 Tbs fish sauce
2 pieces long chili
1/2 ginger root, finely cut
2 Tbs cooking oil
Parsley for garnishing
- In a large saucepan, saute the onion and garlic in the oil.
- Add the tomatoes, ginger, chicken stock, squash, fish paste and coconut milk. Bring the mixture to a boil then simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Add fish, prawns, coconut cream, fish sauce and chili. Bring back to the boil and simmer for another 15 minutes.