Posts Tagged With: New

The Bondi Cook… at Home


For almost 6 years I have been working and playing within the Bondi Public School environment. I wish I had a dollar for every time a parent has said in a Kitchen Garden class, ‘I wish I could wrap you up and take you home!’

Well, now I, Melissa, A.K.A. The Bondi Cook is getting ready to offer you just that!
In 2017 I am launching The Bondi Cook… at Home. Delicious and nutritious home-made meals (by me!) for you and your family.  Don’t worry, I’m not walking away from Kitchen Garden classes, I am just hoping to turn my afternoons and Fridays into a local business, doing what I love most.

The Bondi Cook… at Home will focus on yummy stuff for your fridge and pantry, ready to heat and eat, or freeze for another night.
Fresh, seasonal, homemade and free from any baddies!
I’m running a trial for the rest of this term and then will start properly in 2017.  I am hoping to have a fancy website and a great ordering system but all that will come in time.
Meanwhile, I’ll be sending an email out every Sunday for the next few weeks, with a small menu of four or five items for you to reply back to with your order if interested. I’ll cook on Fridays and discuss pickup instructions with you. Easy!

Dishes might include:
*Herbed labneh with lemon and garlic
*Korean-style kimchi
*Rosemary spiced nuts
*Luxurious chicken liver pate
*Pork and spinach pot-sticker dumplings
*Curry of chickpea, potato and cabbage
*Spanish lentil and chorizo stew
*Salmon and coriander fishcakes
*Fresh pizza dough balls ready to roll, top and bake
*Super-sugo sauce for pasta & pizza
*Yemeni chicken curry
*Greek slow-roasted leg of lamb with tzatziki
*Crunchy granola suite… and other tasty treats!

If you like what I’m doing, sign up to the newsletters! Or follow my page here:

And you can see one of my newsletters here…

Much love x

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Shanghai-style eggplant

Chris says, ‘This is a very simple and a traditional Shanghai home-cooked dish. Every family in Shanghai has their own way to cook it and uses the exact same ingredients. The woman in Shanghai who is the best cook for this dish is very special. She is my mum. So I believe the best seasoning in the world is memories.’

Melissa says this recipe is for Grace & Estella!

Fresh from the garden: eggplant, chilli, garlic
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Chris Yan on
Serves: 6 or 24 tastes


  • Paper towel
  • Bowls – large, small
  • Scales
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • A wok
  • Slotted & wooden spoons
  • Measures – jug, tablespoons
  • Serving plates

  • 6 Japanese eggplant (also known as Lebanese) or 2 large eggplant
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large red chilli (or green if you don’t want too much heat!)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 200ml water
  • 3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

What to do:

  • Wash and wipe dry the eggplant and cut off the stem & leaves. Weigh to make sure you have 500g. Then cut into 5cm thick pieces.
  • Wash and wipe dry the chilli and roughly cut into chunks.
  • Bruise the garlic cloves with your hand or the blade of a large knife and then peel.
  • Heat oil in wok until shimmering. Add chilli and garlic cloves and cook for 20 seconds. Remove the chilli with a slotted spoon and reserve.
  • Add the eggplant and gently stir-fry. When eggplants have soaked up all of the oil, add 1 tablespoon of the water. Keep adding water, a tablespoon at a time until eggplants are soft and you have used half of the water.
  • Stir in dark soy sauce and sugar. Stir well and add remaining water. Cover with a lid or foil and cook for 1 minute. Uncover, the liquid should have been absorbed.
  • Return chilli to wok, toss for 30 seconds and serve.
  • Eat immediately, but watch out the temperature very hot! Seriously!


  • Wash your hands thoroughly after coming in contact with chilli, as the capsaicin (the oil within the chilli) burns when it comes in contact with your eyes or sensitive skin.

 Notes: What does bruising a clove of garlic mean? Where is Shanghai? What food memories do you have?

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Pork and spinach pot-sticker dumplings with soy vinegar

Mastering the art of dumpling-making could well make you the most popular member of the family with a Saturday-morning home yum cha special!

Fresh from the garden: Chinese leaves, spinach, spring onions, ginger
Recipe source: adapted from a recipe by Ken Hom on
Makes: about 35 dumplings


  • Bowls – large, small
  • Fork or chopsticks
  • Scales
  • Kettle
  • Measures – jug, tablespoons, teaspoons, ½ teaspoon
  • Tea towels
  • Salad spinner
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Peeler & ruler
  • Rolling pins
  • Large baking trays
  • 2 non-stick frying pans with lids
  • Slotted spoons
  • Serving plates & small sauce bowls

For the dough

  • 280g plain flour plus extra for dusting
  • 250ml very hot water

For the stuffing

  • A big bunch Chinese leaves or spinach
  • 1 large or 2 small spring onions
  • 1 small piece of ginger
  • 220g minced pork (not extra lean)
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

To cook

  • About 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 75ml water

For the dipping sauce

  • 90ml light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chilli oil

What to do:

For the dough

  • Fill the kettle and turn on to boil. Place the flour into a large bowl. Carefully measure the hot water and stir it gradually into the flour, mixing all the time with a fork or chopsticks, until the water is incorporated. Add more water if the mixture seems dry.
  • Tip the dough mixture onto a clean work surface and knead it with your hands, dusting the dough with a little flour if it’s sticky. Continue kneading until it is smooth – this should take about eight minutes.
  • Put the dough back in the bowl, cover it with a clean damp towel and let it rest for about 20 minutes.

For the stuffing

  • While the dough is resting, wash and spin-dry the spinach, removing and discarding any large stalks. Finely chop to yield 150g.
  • Wash and peel the first layer from each of the spring onions. Finely chop to yield 3 tablespoons.
  • Peel the skin from the ginger and finely chop to yield 2 packed teaspoons worth.
  • Combine all veggies and the rest of the stuffing ingredients in a large bowl and mix them together thoroughly. Set aside.

Preparing the dumplings

  • After the resting period, take the dough out of the bowl and knead it again for about five minutes, dusting with a little flour if it is sticky.
  • Once the dough is smooth, shape it into 2 rolls about 23cm long and about 2cm diameter, using your hands.
  • With a sharp knife, slice each roll into 16 equal-sized pieces (each piece is about 15g). Using your hands, roll each of the dough pieces into a small ball and then, with a rolling pin, roll each ball into a small, round, flat and thin ‘pancake’ about 9cm in diameter.
  • Arrange the round skins on a lightly floured baking tray and cover them with a damp kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out until you are ready to use them.
  • Place about two teaspoons of filling in the centre of each ‘pancake’ and moisten the edges with water. Fold the dough in half and pinch together with your fingers.
  • Pleat around the edge, pinching with your fingers to seal well. The dumpling should look like a small Cornish pasty with a flat base and rounded top.
  • Transfer each finished dumpling to the floured tray and keep it covered until you have stuffed all the dumplings in this way.

To cook

  • Heat a large lidded non-stick frying pan until it is very hot. Add the vegetable oil and place the dumplings flat-side down into the pan.
  • Reduce the heat and cook for about two minutes until they the dumplings are lightly browned. Add the water, cover the pan tightly and simmer gently for about 12 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Check the water half-way through and add more if necessary. Uncover the pan and continue to cook for a further two minutes.
  • For the dipping sauce, combine all the dipping sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.

To serve

  • Remove the dumplings from the pan with a large slotted spoon onto serving plates and serve with the dipping sauce.

Notes: Why do we let the dough rest? What does to yield mean? Why are there different soy sauces? Why are these called pot-stickers?


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Kitchen Garden News – 14th March 2013

Kung hei fat choi!

We have been swimming in delicious, heady flavours in the cottage these last two weeks – dark and light soy, sesame oil, black bean sauce, rice wine vinegar, chilli oil, fresh chillies, coriander, ginger and garlic – and all the woks and steamer baskets have been working overtime as we launched our Chinese Banquet Menu! All in all I think the cottage oversaw roughly 650 dumplings rolled & filled over the course of eight classes’ sessions… and they all got gobbled up! The children did a sterling job and were super-adventurous trying dishes they hadn’t before – and the grown-up volunteers were fabulous in their support and ability to assist us in what was a huge menu… so to it!

Not only Steamed eggplant siu mai with ginger and chilli dipping sauce and Pork and spinach pot-sticker dumplings with soy vinegar, but also Chinese pumpkin pancakes (Nan Gua Bing), Kylie Kwong’s chilled cucumber salad, Stir-fried eggs with tomato and chilli soy, Perfect steamed rice, Shanghai-style eggplant and finally a little cup of Jasmine tea, of course… all in the same class! I’m looking forward to calming it down a bit in the next menu – we’ve got leeks, carrots and plenty of rocket to come!

So with that I bid you adieu, I hope you have a lovely weekend and look forward to seeing you next week! And also promise that the recipes for the Chinese feast will be up here as soon as humanly (and homeworkly!) possible…

Cheers! Melissa

Dumpling heaven…

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