So the last few weeks since Christmas have been a whirlwind of family and friends and big dinners every night, usually there’s 14 of us around the table, so much fun, so much noise and conversation and sharing of platters.
We finished shooting Series 6 of MKR on the 21st of December, it’s a cracker of a season by the way! Then I jumped on a plane, headed home, packed the car, picked up my ham, pork belly and seafood, and hotfooted it down to the beach house.
Christmas Eve is a lovely quiet night down here, just my husband and my parents, traditionally we have a special bottle or two, and a simple pasta, this year it was fresh local tomatoes warmed in olive oil with garlic and parsley, a little salad on the side, and an early night because it’s Christmas!
The Day passes in a blur of cooking, eating, drinking, a swim, more cooking eating and drinking, a crazy game of Kris Kringle, and finishing up with the diehards eating cheese, drinking a dessert wine, and solving the worlds’ problems.
And so we glide into the holidays, the day begins with walking the 3 spoilt dogs;Lottie, Oscar and Bridie, first through the bush, then on to the beach, where the brave ones amongst us have a swim too, then reading, cooking, eating, some touristy activities, or the beach.
But the food, let me talk about the food. Feeding that many people every night, it’s got to be platters, sometimes we serve smorgasbord style, sometimes platters arranged down the length of the table. Sometimes, on warm nights, we pack the lot up, walk to the Yacht Club and have dinner on the deck.
We’ve had huge pots of local mussels cooked with Sujec, tomatoes and herbs, which we serve with hot ciabatta and salad. Fantastic wood fired BBQ s of lambstraps or rump steak, sliced over a big platter of red onions, fetta, olives and leaves,or Asian style on big rice noodle salads packed with Asian herbs, beanshoots, cucumber and zucchini ribbons and topped with a handful of those fried onions from the Asian food store. Some nights, huge trays full of roasted zucchini, roasted beetroots and roasted asparagus, served with roast chickens, and my current fave; Ginger Chicken with Bok Choy and Hokkien Noodles.
300 g boneless chicken thighs, cut into 6 pieces each
1 bunch bok choy, washed and chopped
1/3 bunch spring onions, cut into 3 cm pieces
Piece of ginger, about the size of 1/2 iPhone, peeled and sliced thinly
2cloves garlic, sliced thinly
500 g packet of hokkien noodles
120 ml soy sauce
1tsp sesame oil
40 ml Chinese cooking wine
1&1/2tbsp corn flour
80 ml soy sauce
40 ml Chinese cooking wine
1cup cold water
Marinate chicken, ginger and spring onions for at least one hour.
Combine sauce ingredients and set aside.
In a very hot wok, toss bok choy with 1/2 tbsp oil and the garlic, cook until wilted, approx 3-5 minutes. Set aside, wipe out wok and heat to smoking again, meanwhile, cook noodles and leave to drain in the colander.
Add another tbsp of oil to the wok then add the chicken, including the marinade, and cook until chicken is just cooked through, again, approx 3-5 minutes, then add bok choy, hot noodles, toss to combine, add sauce, tossw ell, then remove from heat.
The View from the deck on to Port Phillip Bay