Chinese-style Eight-treasure Soup


4 dried shiitake mushrooms
1 tblespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion
2 oz Chinese bacon or ham, cut into thin strips
4 cups good-quality chicken stock
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine
8 oz chicken breast fillet
1 carrot, cut into 1/2-inch slices
12 small raw prawns, peeled and deveined
6-1/2 oz firm tofu, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1-3/4 oz sliced bamboo shoots
3-1/2 oz spinach, chopped
2 spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal


  1. Soak the mushrooms in 1/2 cup boiling water for 20 minutes. Squeeze dry, reserving the soaking liquid. Discard the woody stalks and cut the caps into quarters.
  2. Heat a wok over high heat. Add the oils and swirl to coat the side of the wok, then add the ginger, spring onion and bacon. Cook for about 10 seconds before adding the stock, soy sauce, rice wine, mushroom liquid and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to the boil.
  3. Add the chicken. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and poach the chicken for 40 minutes.
  4. Remove the chicken from the stock and, when cool enough to handle, shred the meat.
  5. Return the stock to the boil, add the carrot and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Add the prawns, tofu, bamboo shoots, spinach and chicken meat to the wok and cook over low heat for a further 5 minutes.
  7. Serve with the extra spring onion.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Note: Chinese bacon has a dryish flesh with a strong flavour very much like prosciutto. You can substitute prosciutto.

Source: The Essential Wok Cookbook


Button Mushrooms with Curry Sauce


300 g button mushrooms
1/2 carrot
1 onion
1 small cucumber
1 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp curry powder


1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp satay sauce
3 cups vegetable broth


  1. Wash and peel the carrot and cucumber. Cut into small diamond shapes. Cut the onion into small pieces.
  2. Remove the stalks of the mushrooms, score the surface, then deep fry in oil on low heat till golden brown. Drain excess oil on paper towel.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok on low heat, fry the flour till it turns yellow. Set aside.
  4. Stir-fry the mushrooms with 2 tbsp oil, then add curry powder and all the sauce ingredients. Cook till the sauce begins to thicken, add the fried flour in Step 3 to thicken the sauce further. Remove to deep serving dish and serve hot.

Source: Mushroom Cooking

Seared Duck Breast with Molasses and Blackberry Sauce


3 tablespoons butter
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stalk of celery, finely diced
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, finely diced
1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries
2 cups duck or veal stock
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 sprig fresh thyme, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
4 (6-8-oz each) duck breasts, with skin
1/2 cabbage, sauteed
16 to 18 morels, sauteed


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, and shiitake mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly until softened.
  3. Add the blackberries and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the veal stock, molasses, black pepper, and thyme. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Strain the sauce through a fine strainer, forcing the ingredients through as much as possible. Keep warm until ready to use.
  6. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Place the duck breasts, skin side down, in the pan and cook until the skin is thoroughly browned. Turn the duck breasts over and brown on the other side. Transfer saute pan to the oven and cook duck breasts until medium rare, approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
  7. Return sauce to a simmer, do not boil, and whisk in the remaining tablespoon of butter.
  8. Slice the duck breasts and arrange them in a fan shape on the serving plates over a bed of sauteed cabbage and morels. Drizzle sauce over the sliced duck and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Famie’s Adventures in Cooking

Chicken with Chardonnay and Chanterelles


1/2 oz dried chanterelles
1 tablespoon flour
2 boneless chicken breasts, about 12 oz
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
4 shallots, thinly sliced
a good pinch of Spanish sweet smoked paprika
2/3 cup top quality New World chardonnay or good white Burgundy
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 coils dried pappardelle all’uovo or other wide-ribboned egg pasta, about 3-1/2 oz
freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Put the chanterelles in a bowl and add just enough tepid water to cover. Let soak for 10 minutes. Drain the chanterelles, reserve the soaking liquid, and strain it through a fine sieve.
  2. Put the flour in a shallow dish and season it with salt and pepper. Dip the chicken breasts in the flour and coat both sides.
  3. Heat a skillet over moderate heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. When the butter is foaming, add the chicken breasts skin side down. Fry for 2-1/2 to 3 minutes until the skin is brown and crisp.
  4. Turn the chicken breasts over and lightly brown the other side, 2-1/2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Transfer the chicken to an ovenproof dish and cook in a preheated oven at 400ºF for 20 minutes until cooked.
  6. Discard the fat from the skillet and wipe it with paper towels. Heat the remaining oil and 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet, add the shallots, and saute gently for 5 to 6 minutes or until soft.
  7. Stir in the paprika, then increase the heat to high and add the wine.
  8. When the wine has reduced by half, add 1/3 cup of the reserved mushroom water. Reduce the heat and let simmer gently for 10 minutes.
  9. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl.
  10. Return the strained sauce to the pan, add the chanterelles, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  11. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the cream, and salt and pepper to taste.
  12. Return the pan to the burner and heat very gently, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens.
  13. To cook the pasta, bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the pasta, and cook until al dente, according to the instructions on the package. Drain well, add 1 tablespoon butter, and season with a little pepper and freshly grated nutmeg.
  14. Cut each chicken breast into 5 or 6 thick diagonal slices. Divide the pasta between 2 warm plates, put the slices of chicken on top, then spoon over the mushroom and cream sauce. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings.

Source: Cooking with Wine

Herb-crusted Cod Fillets


4 cod fillets, about 5oz each
sea salt and black pepper
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
olive oil, to drizzle

Herb Crust

2-1/2 oz white bread
3/4 oz slice of brioche
large bunch of parsley, leaves only
chopped handful of thyme, leaves only
3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere (or Parmesan)
10 tbsp butter, softened to room temperature

Sauteed Chanterelles

1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
few thyme sprigs
7oz baby chanterelles, cleaned and trimmed


  1. First, make the herb crust. Remove the crusts from the bread and brioche, then tear into pieces. Whiz the bread, brioche, herbs, and cheese together in a blender or food processor for a few seconds until the herbs are minced. Add the butter and whiz to a bright green paste.
  2. Spoon the mixture onto a large sheet of plastic wrap. Use the plastic wrap to wrap the butter and shape it into a large log, about 2 inches in diameter.
  3. Holding both ends of the plastic wrap, roll the log on the counter to even it out. Chill for 1 to 2 hours until firm.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
  5. Trim the cod fillets and remove the skin and any pin bones with tweezers.
  6. Season and place, skinned side up, on an oiled baking sheet. Brush the fish with a layer of mustard. Cut thin slices from the herb crust and arrange these on top of the fish. (The remaining herb crust can be frozen for later use.)
  7. Bake for 4 to 6 minutes until the fish is opaque and cooked through.
  8. While the fish is cooking, prepare the sauteed chanterelles. Heat the olive oil and butter in a wide skillet until the butter begins to foam. Toss in the thyme and chanterelles with some seasoning. Cook over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  9. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
  10. Place a herb-crusted fish fillet on each serving plate. Divide the sauteed chanterelles among the plates, drizzle with a little olive oil, and serve hot.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Gordon Ramsay’s maze