Now is a great time to hone your cooking skills, with many of us working from home there is time to make a sourdough loaf or slow cook a curry.
The Fassifern Guardian is bringing back the cooking column where we test the recipes first in our kitchen to make sure you can make them in yours.
With air travel out of the question, the easiest way to be transported around the world (aside from Netflix) is cooking.
Smells can bring memories flooding back but a lot of the time, when cooking at home some of the ingredients don’t match up or are hard to find.
The resulting dish ends up smelling nothing like the one you had all those years ago.
The secret is always in the condiments.
This is especially in the case when cooking Japanese food such as the udon dish you are soon to read about.
A good broth is the key to a spectacular udon noodle soup and there are four ingredients for it in this recipe.
The first three - light soy, brown sugar and sweet mirin - are relatively easy to get a hold of but dashi is a little more scarce.
This is the ingredient that will bring the memories back, made from a dried fish called a bonito, dashi is used in anything from miso soup, takoyaki to okonomiyaki.
I get mine in granule form from Chinatown in Brisbane but it is pretty easy to find online.
It lasts a long time so I always have a little stockpile in the pantry because the stock is easy to make and can be used to make a nice ramen too.
You could substitute with a dashi kombu, which is a seaweed alternative, making the broth vegan friendly and it can be found locally.
For the dish itself it's more of a personal preference thing and often just what I have in the fridge.
Short of dropping it on the floor, this dish is pretty hard to stuff up.
To give the dish a bit of a punch you could add some togarashi or chilli oil.
For the broth:
3 cups of dashi broth (1⅓ tsp dashi granules in 3 cups of water)
⅙ cup of light soy
1½ tbs sweet mirin
½ tbs brown sugar.
For the dish:
2 serves of udon noodles
½ cup of dried shiitake mushrooms
2 cups of assorted mushrooms such as oyster and enoki roughly chopped
3 baby bok choy
2 soft boiled eggs (5mins, 30sec)
1 tbs wakame seaweed flakes (optional)
4 strips of pork belly
½ tsp brown sugar
½ tsp sesame oil
½ tsp light soy
To make the dish boil your eggs for 5 minutes and 30 seconds, cool and set aside. For the broth: Mix dashi stock with the soy, mirin and sugar into a pot, bring to a simmer until ready to serve. For the dish: Marinate the pork belly in brown sugar, sesame oil and light soy and fry in a pan on med/high heat until the pork starts to caramelise. Boil the udon noodles, cook them until they have a nice, springy texture. For the last few minutes before plating, roughly chop the mushrooms and bok choy and add to the broth with the wakame flakes. Place the desired amount of noodles in a bowl, cut eggs in half and place on the noodles, add the mushrooms and broth until everything is covered, then add the pork. Garnish with shallots.