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.
Stir frying is a general term used to describe a Chinese cooking technique (chǎo) which involves heating a small amount of oil in a wok before adding spices then frying meat and/or vegetables while tossing the ingredients swiftly together. The term was first penned by Buwei Yang Chao in her book How to Cook and Eat Chinese and has since become a conventional description of many other Asian dishes using a similar style of cooking.
I love the tastes and spices in Chinese cooking and I particularly enjoy the light and fresh flavour of this recipe. Its good to have as a side dish but is also delicious on its own.
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced ginger
Sliced cuttlefish balls (optional)
about 1 cup chopped Chinese broccoli
about 1 cup chopped zucchini
about 1 cup chopped carrot
about 1 tsp fish sauce
about 2 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon corn starch
6 tablespoons water
- In a small bowl, combine the Shaoxing wine, sugar, water, cornstarch and fish sauce
- Heat the wok and add the oil. Add the ginger and stir fry until aromatic.
- Add the cuttlefish and swiftly stir fry until cooked. Add the remaining vegetables and stir quickly.
- Add the sauce into the wok and stir until the sauce thickens.
- Transfer the vegetables into a dish and serve immediately.
Bruschetta is an appetizer originating from 15th century Italy and is one of my favorite things to eat. Bruschetta was developed out of necessity as a way to salvage bread that was going stale. It traditionally consists of bread rubbed with garlic, then sprinkled with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. A variety of toppings have developed over the centuries and this recipe incorporates one of the more popular kinds outside of Italy. I loove to eat it as a snack and one of my favorite things to do is curl up with a good book, a plate of bruschetta and a cold drink. Yum!
- Handful of fresh basil or parsely
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Several cloves of garlic
- Handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- Balsamic vinegar
- Crusty bread cut into thick slices.
- Chop the basil or parsley, onion and tomato. Finely slice the garlic
- Combine ingredients in a bowl and add approx 2 tbs balsamic vinegar and 2-3 tbs extra virgin olive oil. Set aside and allow the ingredients to marinate.
- Brush the bread with extra virgin olive oil and rub with a garlic clove.
- Sprinkle the bread slices liberally with salt and pepper.
- Lightly toast the bread in the oven.
- Add the topping onto the toasted bread and serve.