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Dinner Reincarnate

Once, twice, three times yum.

Every couple of weeks we self impose a grocery shopping embargo until we’ve cooked everything in the fridge and larder. At this stage, the contents of the fridge would typically house half a chicken carcass, a few lonely root veggies and herbs in their designated drawer, solidified hollandaise – and the egg whites left behind during the making-of. There is always garlic, ginger and some chillies in various stages of maturation and staple spices include star anise, cloves and cinnamon sticks. If there’s enough meat left on the chicken carcass, reserve a good thigh or leg, but keep the rest of the bones to use for a broth.

1. Quick Vietnamese Chicken Pho

Quick Vietnamese Chicken Pho
Quick Vietnamese Chicken Pho


1 Chicken carcass

5cm long piece of fresh ginger root, peeled

3 whole cloves

2 whole star anise

10 black pepper corns

1 cinnamon stick, approximately 7.5cm long

2 medium shallots, unpeeled

1 liquid chicken stock sachet

3 Tbsp of high quality fish sauce

1 tsp of sugar

1 package of flat rice noodles

1 stalk of scallions (green onion), sliced thinly

1 fresh chilli, thinly sliced (optional)

Hoisin sauce and Sriracha


Place chicken carcass, ginger root, shallots, cloves, star anise, pepper corns and cinnamon stick into pot. Leave to heat until you can smell the spices. Immediately pour enough water to cover the chicken, approximately 2 litres. Bring to boil and lower to simmer until the liquid has reduced by a third.

Add fish sauce, sugar, and chicken stock. Return to simmer.

As your broth continues to reduce on a lower heat, place the reserved thigh or leg inside to warm through.

Next, soak the rice noodles in hot water. Let them soak for about 15 minutes and drain. In a small pot, heat up water until simmering.

Cook noodles by placing large handfuls into simmering pot of water, cook for about 3 minutes, keep checking the texture of the noodles, they should be slightly chewy. When cooked, without draining the water, remove noodles with tongs directly into a serving bowl.

Top noodles with the chicken piece and carefully spoon hot broth over noodles until covered.

Garnish with whatever herbs you have available, coriander is always good, dill works just as well. A squeeze of lemon adds some zest, hoisin makes it sweet and Sriracha turns up the heat. Stir, and slurp

2. Chawanmushi (Steamed egg custard)

Chawanmushi (Steamed egg custard)
Chawanmushi (Steamed egg custard)


1 (12cm) piece kombu

2 tbsp. bonito flakes

1 12 tsp. soy sauce

[OR scrap the above and use two tsp. of good quality instant dashi with below ingredients instead]

1 12 tsp. mirin

2 large eggs

1 egg yolk (to make 2 leftover egg whites, 3)

1 cup water

1/2 cup of left over chicken broth

Left over chicken pieces


Heat the oven to 160°C. In a small pot, bring the kombu and water and left over chicken broth to a boil. Remove from the heat, remove and discard the kombu, stir in the bonito flakes, and let stand for 5 minutes. Pour the dashi through a fine sieve into a bowl and let cool.

OR heat water and broth and stir in instant dashi, set aside to cool.

In another bowl, whisk the mirin and soy sauce with the eggs, then whisk in the cooled dashi. Divide the custard among four small ramekins set inside a medium baking dish, (at this stage you can add the left-over chicken to each ramekin) and set the baking dish in the oven. Pour enough boiling water into the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins and bake the custards until set but the centre should still jiggle when you tap the side of the ramekin.

Remove the baking dish from the oven, lift the ramekins from the water bath, and transfer to a rack. Let the custards cool slightly before serving.

3. Black Sesame Pavlova

Black Sesame Pavlova


3 left-over egg whites

3/4 cup caster sugar

1 tsp cornflour

1 tsp lemon juice

3 tbsp black sesame seeds, whole

2 tbsp black sesame seeds, crushed

1 tbsp sesame past, or tahini

1 tsp. activated charcoal powder


Whisk egg whites with an electric mixer until frothy. Add sugar gradually, beating to dissolve between additions. Once all the sugar has been added, use a silicon spatula to fold in remaining ingredients.

Transfer mixture to a piping bag. On a baking tray lined with baking paper, pipe the meringues in any shape you like, assuring there’s a 2cm space between each one.

Sprinkle with black sesame seeds

Bake for 40 minutes in the pre-heated oven until firm on top. Turn off oven, leave door ajar and allow to cool completely.

While the meringues cool, mix the charcoal with the tahini

Use this mix to glue the backs of two meringues to one another

Sprinkle over crushed sesame seeds for garnish

Recipes adapted from:

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