Saturday, 28 July 2012

Fish Finger Bee Hoon

While I was back home, I reacquainted myself with Fried Fish Bee Hoon. Having not had it for a while, it was comforting slurping a bowl of thick rice vermicelli bathing in a broth flavoured with condensed milk, rice wine and ginger, with crispy fried fish. The idea of making it back in the UK has occupied my thoughts often enough that I was determined that this would be one of the first, if not the first, thing I did the moment we were done with the location move.

Fish can be expensive though, and deep and in keeping with the spirit of this blog I decided to use the next best thing - fish fingers. This also makes the preparation of this much more accessible to university students on a budget, who are more likely to have Sainsbury's Basics Fish Fingers than the Basics Frozen Fish Portions. I have adapted the recipe from Shirlyn's Corner, making adjustments where necessary such that all ingredients used can come from the Sainsbury's Basics range. These include substituting condensed milk with Basics UHT milk, rice vermicelli with Sainsbury's Basics spaghetti and rice wine with Basics white wine.

Cook some Basics fish fingers in the oven. In the meantime, boil the spaghetti but only for half the time they recommend. Drain and pour in 250ml of chicken stock prepared using half a Basics Chicken Stock Cube.

Add some Sainsbury's Basics UHT milk and a splash of Basics white wine. Bring to the boil before turning down the heat and letting it simmer. Add half a tomato and season with black pepper and leave for 2 minutes.

Serve immediately with the Basics fish fingers.

This turned out to be a bad idea, the result a poor facsimile of the noodle soup I'm fond of back home. What works well with deep-fried fish does not work well with fish fingers, as the breadcrumb coating absorbs water very easily, resulting in very soggy fish. This could be avoided by serving fish fingers separately though. The soup certainly needs more work, as I remember the flavours I tasted when I was home were much more complex than this. Given that a lot of soup bases back home use soya beans, I am tempted to see how this will turn out if I used Basics unsweetened soya milk. In the meantime I will have to find other things to do with my Basics UHT milk, and quickly, as I have learnt that it has a tendency to go bad very quickly.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Apple Juice Wine Spritzer

As the place that I have moved to is  experiencing Internet connectivity issues, my ability to blog will be similarly limited. Thankfully, I have my smartphone with me, so I am still able to publish some content.
I was recently present at a gathering of final year students prior to their leaving the UK for good. One of the drinks that we had was lychee juice served with white wine. It was very refreshing, the sweetness of the lychee balancing out the tartness of the wine.
Once I had settled down here I decided to try doing something similar with the Sainsbury's Basics range. Unfortunately the closest I can get to something as sweet as lychees was apple juice. The resulting drink was okay, though nothing like what I had that evening. Sainsbury's recently raised the price of their Basics wines to £3.39, which makes it very difficult to justify buying it even for cooking. If you cannot bear to use good wine as a drinks mixer though, Basics would be a viable alternative.

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