Take a wok on the wild side with me

Welcome to A Wok on the Wild Side.

Please join me in my adventures in the culinary world and all things gastronomic.

Food, travel, books, music and the arts are all close to my heart, not to mention my tastebuds!

I've enjoyed tasting and testing recipes since I was a child in primary school who insisted on helping Mum stir her cake batters and test her bread and butter puddings for afternoon tea.

Suburban Chinese restaurants

My friend and former colleague, journalist Jamie Duncan, and I had an interesting interview on how Chinese food has evolved over the years. Here is Jamie's story in the Herald Sun.

Why there’s nothing like suburban Chinese food

Melbourne today boasts some of the best regional Chinese cuisine around — but some old-school suburban restaurants are still mastering the classics.

Jamie Duncan

February 11, 2021

Herald Sun

Chinese food in Melbourne has come a long way since the 80s.

Chinese New Year of the Ox 2021

Chinese New Year of the Ox 2021

Chinese New Year of the Metal Ox starts on Friday, February 12, and we hope it will be better than last year, which was tumultous and challenging.

The other animals in the Chinese zodiac are the Rat, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Tiger, Rabbit, Sheep, Rooster, Monkey, Dog and Pig.

According to the Chinese annals, those born in the Year of the Ox are said to be determined, strong and conservative.

Christmas 2020

Christmas 2020

Christmas this year has come near the end of one of the most challenging years the world has experienced.

Some countries have the pandemic under control, while others are experiencing second and third waves of this terrible virus.

Let's all hope and pray for a better future, a peaceful and joyous Christmas and a happy New Year.

As is this website's tradition, here is a recipe for my favourite dish at Christmas, a succulent baked ham and this year we're trying chef Manu's Christmas ham baked with stout.

Manu's stout baked ham

Cakes for One

Some days you just feel like having a little bit of cake with your coffee, while watching tv or just for fun.

When you've eaten your last morsel of cake and your favourite patiserrie is closed, despair not.

My friend Felix and I have created these recipes which are not only quick and easy, but absolutely delectable.

They are designed to feed one hungry person, but if you feel like sharing, just double or triple the quantities.

Banana bread for one by Felix

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

Laksa Lockdown 5

Laksa lockdown 5

Awesome aubergines.

My friend Joseph Kuek from London has contributed the latest Laksa Lockdown recipe.

His spicy aubergine dish is simple, healthy and totally delicious. Aubergines, eggplants or brinjals, they are simply awesome, as a main dish or an accompaniment.

Joepsh's Awesome Aubergines

2 large aubergines

½ tsp pepper

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp oyster sauce

½ tsp mixed herbs

½ tsp turmeric powder

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

International Bacon Day

International Bacon Day

Saturday, September 5 is International Bacon Day.

However, a lot of bacon sold in Australia is made from imported pork.

Why not help Australian pork farmers by buying Australian-made bacon?

Here are some recipes to inspire you and for more ideas, visit www.pork.com.au

Enjoy an indulgent breakfast with maple, bacon, cinnamon and pecan pancakes or relax on the couch with bacon and caramel popcorn.

Remember Aussie Bacon Bites Best!

Maple Bacon Cinnamon and Pecan Pancakes

Father's Day 2020

Father's Day 2020

Father, Dad, Papa, Pere, Padre, Otosan.

How you address your father depends on the language you speak.

My father was Daddy to me, a larger than life personality in every way.

He was my role model, my protector and the first man in my life.

I felt safe and loved when he cradled me in his arms.

He was in his 50s when I was born. He and mum were widowed and had children from their first marriages.

I always explained that I was the “ours” in the “yours, mine and ours” arrangement that was our blended family.

Laksa lockdown 4

Laksa lockdown 4

Super soups

My super niece Jong-Ee loves soups and so do I.

We decided to swop a couple of our favourite soup recipes to add to our repertoire.

So whether you're in wintry Melbourne or sunny Singapore, enjoy these recipes.

My chicken and corn soup for Jong-Ee

Serves 4

1 (375g) can creamed corn

1 chicken Maryland or 3 drumsticks

1 thumbsize piece ginger, bruised, skin on

2 tsp cornflour mixed with ¼ cup water

2 eggs

salt and pepper to taste

½ tbsp light soy sauce

Laksa Lockdown 3

Laksa lockdown 3

Going bananas

My Singaporean friend Felix Heng is a keen cook who also loves his desserts.

Try his recipe for steamed banana cake.

Kueh Harum Manis (steamed banana cake)

150g dark brown sugar or palm sugar

250ml water

250 g butter

180g sugar

3 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla essence

330g plain flour

1 level tsp baking powder

1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda

¼ tsp salt

4 - 5 ripe bananas

kueh lompang (kueh kosui) plastic moulds or cups

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