Aren't food-bloggers a peculiar little folk? Always seeking for inspiration, trying hard to add something of value and entertainment to the ever-growing niche of online writers. And while I guess that most of us don't write for fame or fortune (ehrm...), I am always very appreciative of any feedback I get, may it be through mails, comments or in this case, an award given to yours truly by children's book illustrator, food blogger and New Yorker Melissa Iwai of The Hungry Artist fame.
It is the second time I received the award for the Versatile Blogger but I don't see why that should be important, it is Melissa who thought of me that matters. Thank you!
This award usually comes with certain guidelines - passing it on to newly discovered blogs and write seven things about yourself, to be precise - but I feel like I should skip the first one (for now) as I was too busy with life to really go on a hunt for new, exciting food blogs. This one may be kept for later. ;)
However, no matter how busy I am, there is no way I can avoid myself, so writing things about me should be a doable task, shouldn't it? So, here - slickly ignoring that self-centred Tobias just managed to use "Me, Myself and I" in one sentence - are the cold facts about the author (trimmed down to five):
- I'm half German and Swiss, but grew up solely in Germany (being only German on paper) and have yet to step one foot on Swiss ground.
- I almost studied cultural sciences (or creative writing and cultural journalism) but was too much of a wuss to apply for their aptitude test as I neither play an instrument (the test covers many aspects of fine arts) nor thought my writing had enough consistency. Plus, I was a bit late, anyways. Another consideration was becoming a teacher (English and German). In the end, I'm studying something called "International Information Management" with my minors being literature and psychology. If you want to know a bit more about it, feel free to drop me a mail and I'll happily respond. Besides, I like receiving emails. :)
- One of my favourite authors is Banana Yoshimoto. I adore her poetic, easy-reading kind of style. I find reading her books and short stories immensely soothing and if you would ever ask me for an author to recommend, it would be her.
- Alright, another odd one: I'm really into horror films. Not the torture porn kind of gross out flicks that seem to be popular these days, but the more subtle, suspense-heavy kind. Anything with ghosts and I'll gladly watch it with you. As the Japanese Ringu has caused a wave of amazing (and not so amazing) Asian ghost films, many of my favourites originated there. This had led me to seek out for Asian films of other genres, as well, so one of my favourite filmmakers is Wong Kar-Wai. Watch "Fallen Angels" and "Chungking Express", please.
- Hmmm, maybe I should finish this list with something cooking related? Let me think...Ah yes: I don't own a lot of cookbooks and the ones I have are mostly pretty old, bought from flea markets or thrift shops (same places I mostly get my props from). I just find that the new/good/beautiful ones are rather on the expensive side and as a University student, I try to be considerate with my expenses. Besides, what is the food blogosphere for if not finding recipes and inspiration, right? I just wish I'd have more time to be more active in it.
Enough of me now and let's get to the recipe.
It is thought to be an appetizer but if only prepared for 2-3 people, can also be a lunch meal or light dinner. It is really easy to make yet quite the looker, in my opinion. I served it as shown in the photos, with the remaining meat and crème frâiche put in little ramekins on the table, ready to fill the pak choi left after the first bite. Pak choi is also called bok choi.
Hoisin Beef on Pak Choi Spoons
- 125 - 145 ml (4 - 5 fl. oz. or 0.5 - 0.625 cup) hoisin sauce
- 3 carrots
- 1 onion
- 350 g (12.5 oz) ground beef
- 400 g (14 oz) pak choi
- Crème frâiche or heavy cream/double cream
- Pepper to taste
- Wash and dry vegetables.
- Carefully cut or pull off pak choi stems from stalk, trying not to break any. I found it the easiest when I slit them just a little at the bottom and pulled them off. Sort out any stems that were either damaged or too small to be used as a 'spoon'. Set aside.
- Cut onion, carrots and sorted out pak choi into very small cubes.
- Pan fry ground beef on medium heat, crumbling it.
- When half done, add and sauté cubed vegetables.
- Stir in 120 ml hoisin sauce, taste and add more if needed. I did this recipe with two different brands and found one to be stronger/more concentrated than the other, hence the suggestion.
- Season to taste with pepper.
- Place on pak choi stems with a spoon.
- Finish off with a dollop of crème frâiche or heavy cream/double cream.