Friday, 30 October 2009

A thousand year omelet ?!

Recently, while stocking up on food in Sun-Wah supermarket
I found this Chinese delicacy.

These are 6 preserved duck eggs aka thousand year old or century eggs.
They're preserved by covering the egg in a mixture of clay, ash, salt, lime, and rice straw for several weeks to several months, although modern methods use a brine of salt, calcium hydroxide, and sodium carbonate which does the same but more quickly. The story about using horse's urine is a complete fable ;) It's impossible, since urine can never be alkaline enough.

The peeled egg looks black or very dark brown

When you halve it , you see the white has become solid firm and jello-like transparent brown.
The yolk has turned dark green and creamy and smells strongly of ammonia.

So what does it taste like ?
I ate the first one with a spoon ( I know NO FEAR ) : the white has little taste, but a texture like very firm aspic
the yolk is creamy , a bit salty and the fume of ammonia that evaporates in your mouth would probably turn a lot of people off.

Since I have 6 , I made a dish with tofu , ginger, spring onions and a sauce of soy sauce and sesame oil ( I'll post pics when I make this again )
and this morning I made a Chinese "Old and fresh egg omelet" for which I invented a recipe , as I can't find it on Internet.

Peel and slice a preserved egg from top to bottom. ( This one has a very large yolk)

Whip 3 fresh chicken eggs in a bowl with a dash of oil and water. (Adding a teaspoon of water to an omelet makes it fluffier as the water boils off when poured in the pan )

Have a few sprigs of fresh coriander ready for a contrasting flavor and to add colour ( fresh chopped spring onions might be OK too)

Heat a very lightly oiled non-stick pan on a medium fire, pour two thirds of the mixture in and turn the fire to low.

Arrange the sliced egg in a decorative way on the omelet.

Tear the fresh leaves of coriander up and put them on top of the eggs.

Cover with the rest of the whipped egg, put a lid on the pan and cook on a low fire for another 4 to 5 minutes
I lightly seasoned the omelet with freshly ground white and black pepper , in order not to mask the taste of the preserved egg.
Eat this with a slice of bread or steamed rice.

It looks so decorative ! ( click on the pictures for a mouth-watering large picture )
Please note my genuine Japanese Furoshiki ( wrapping cloth ) underneath ^_^ .
I used it just for the picture of course , I removed it for eating :)

This dish is enough for two persons ( I ate the whole lot myself , I was hungry this morning )

How healthy is it ? It's no different from fresh eggs.
According to this article from China it has almost the same composition as a fresh egg.
I have 1 reservation : the 3rd method in this article uses lead oxide , which is poisonous. Eggs made with that method should be avoided. The ones I have are made in Europe where lead oxide is illegal, they're OK.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Ohmygod, it's hello kitty !

It had to happen sometime.
I found this advertisement on my way to work.

( click on the picture for a larger view)
I'm constantly exposed to it on my friend Kirin's blog so I'm not totally shell shocked , but still. I have to drive past this every day to work !
I can't even blame the Japanese for this , because it's a Korean brand.

What does the advert say ? Well for those of you who aren't fluent in Dutch ( that's 99.5 % of the planet ) it says in the balloon "(It's) Time to change your mobile phone"
and the horn blowing mouse announces 20 Euros per old mobile phone handed in.
The fine print explains you get 20 Euros for up to 3 phones in working order in vouchers.

Thankfully, I have a real cat at home to remind me cats aren't always white with a pink ribbon around one ear.
Meet my very real cat Kedam, everybody , lurking in the grass for passing prey she can kill

( click on the picture for a larger view of my backyard predator )
and sitting on her favorite cushion in HER house

( click on the picture for a larger view and check out the spooky green reflection in the eyes)
I'm only allowed to live here provided I open doors for Her Highness, fill the water dish and fill up the food container. I'm on constant probation : one too many mistakes and I'm sooo fired!