Wobble wobble

Posted by Fuchsia on July 10, 2012
Cooking, Events, Unusual delicacies / 7 Comments

Fancy a jellyfish jelly? This is one I made for the Oxford Food Symposium Mad Hatter’s Tea Party on Friday.

It’s just a home-made lime-and-lemon jelly with plenty of sliced jellyfish and some gouqi berries for colour.

As you might expect, the jellyfish is transparent and has a jelly-like consistency, although one slightly more taut and elastic than that of the actual jelly. It’s completely tasteless, so please don’t imagine this lovely tea-time jelly has a fishy flavour to it.

Like jelly, jellyfish has a very satisfactory wobble when moved from side to side (hang a strand from the end of your spoon and see).

Has anyone else tried making a jellyfish jelly?

Here’s the recipe, as far as I can remember it:

海蜇冻 Jellyfish jelly


Seven limes

One lemon

Two packs of ready-to-eat jellyfish (each 150g)

175g white sugar

Six gelatine leaves

One 20g piece of ginger, skin-on, slightly crushed

4 tbsp dried gouqi berries


  1. Place the jellyfish (which should be already sliced) in a sieve and rinse thoroughly. Then soak in cold water until ready to use. (You won’t need any flavouring sachets you find in the pack for this recipe.)
  2. Cover the gouqi berries in cold water and set aside until ready to use.
  3. Cover the gelatine leaves in cold water and leave to soften.
  4. Squeeze all the limes and the lemon. Place their juices in a pan with 450ml water, the ginger and the sugar. Heat gently, stirring from time to time, to dissolve the sugar, and then bring to the boil. Allow to cool for ten minutes.
  5. Then pour off a little of the hot liquid, add the drained gelatine leaves and allow them to dissolve. Add this mixture to the rest of the juice and mix well. Shake the jelly fish dry and add it to the juice mixture. Allow to cool.
  6. Wet a one-litre jelly mould. When the liquid is tepid, stir in the drained gouqi berries and pour into the mould. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight to set. Turn onto a plate to serve.

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Dumpling fun

Posted by Fuchsia on July 10, 2012
Events / 1 Comment

The theme of this year’s Oxford Food Symposium was ‘Stuffed and Wrapped’ – so we spent the whole weekend discussing dumplings, pasties, stuffed vegetables and the like. We ate stuffed and wrapped foods, like langoustines in filo pastry, saddle of lamb encroute, summer pudding, stuffed vegetables from Gaziantep in Eastern Turkey, baklavas and German sausages, And after dinner on Saturday night, I led a small Chinese dumpling-making session in the bar, teaching people how to pleat jiaozi and baozi, gather up shao mai and make various other pastry shapes.

This was all made possible by the generosity of the lovely Sophie Liu and Chefs Zhou Jianjun and Ren Qiang of My Sichuan restaurant in Oxford, who rustled up large amounts of dumpling dough and lent me a Chinese rolling pin! (Chef Zhou used to work at Barshu.)

Here is a picture of some of our efforts!

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A spoon-tasting dinner in London

Posted by Fuchsia on May 06, 2012
Awards, Equipment, Events / 5 Comments

©Zoe Laughlin

My piece about this unusual event is in this weekend’s Financial Times Magazine here. Since that memorable evening, I’ve noticed myself on a few occasions unconsciously sucking my cutlery, just to see what it tastes like… One intriguing question that I didn’t have space to explore in the article is why we are sensitive to the tastes of different metals: could it be so that we can avoid those that are harmful, and are drawn to those that we need for our health? Zoe Laughlin told me she had noted that ‘men of a certain age’ have a penchant for copper; while Mark Miodownik cited a recent study backing up the suggestion that zinc, taken with Vitamin C, can help to stave off a cold. ‘Perhaps, instead of shelling out fortunes on mineral supplements,’ he said, ‘We could just stir our hot lemon juice and honey with a zinc-coated spoon.’ You can find out more about the materials adventures of Zoe, Mark and their colleagues here, at the Institute of Making.

P.S. My article about a cheese-tasting in Shaoxing (which appeared in the FT last year) won the James Beard Foundation Journalism Award for Food Culture and Travel on Friday night! Thrilled!


Gastronomic tour of China!

Posted by Fuchsia on April 11, 2012
Chinese cuisine, Chinese food culture, Events / 4 Comments

I’m very happy to report that I’ll be leading a gastronomic tour of China from October 13-24 this year, in conjunction with WildChina, a specialist travel company based in Beijing. We’ll be eating our way around Beijing, Xi’an, Chengdu, Hangzhou and Shanghai, as well as visiting amazing sites such as the Terracotta Army and the Great Wall. I’ll be arranging menus and explaining the food. Should be fun! Please go to the WildChina website for more details

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Guild of Food Writers knife clinic

Posted by Fuchsia on November 15, 2010
Chinese cuisine, Chinese food culture, Cooking, Events, Uncategorized / No Comments

The knife clinic, held last Thursday, was great fun. Delicious canapes by Daylesford Organic, great demos by Marianne Lumb and Corin Mellor. And I did a bit of Chinese chopping, including spring onion ‘fish-eyes’, ‘flowers’ and ‘horse ears’, ‘ox-tongue’ slices made from Asian radish, and ‘eyebrows’ and ‘phoenix tails’ cut from pig’s kidneys.

Illustration on left by Sebastian Wilkinson


Turin adventures

I’m just back from a week in Turin for my first Slow Food Salone Del Gusto and Terra Madre. The Salone Del Gusto centres on a vast ‘Slow Food’ trade fair: two enormous halls filled with vendors of Italian delicacies, and (more interesting), a slightly smaller international hall where you can find extraordinary and wonderful foodstuffs, including ancient varieties of almonds from Uzbekistan, Yak’s milk cheese from the Tibetan Plateau, and dried mulberries and mulberry halva from the Pamir mountains. The simultaneous and adjacent Terra Madre is a gathering of some six thousand delegates from 161 countries, all of whom are in some way involved in sustainable local food production.

Funnily enough, I was a member of the Chinese delegation. Continue reading…

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Barshu awayday

Posted by Fuchsia on June 22, 2010
Barshu, Chinese cuisine, Events / No Comments

Last week Barshu (the Sichuanese restaurant where I work as consultant) ran a team-building awayday for some corporate clients in the beautiful private room on the second floor.  The programme? A demonstration by two of the chefs, Xiao Wei and Xiao Hua, followed by a Chinese wine-tasting and a fabulous banquet. Xiao Wei and Xiao Hua showed the guests how to wrap various kinds of jiaozi dumplings, glutinous rice balls (tang yuan), and leaf-wrapped glutinous rice zongzi – the latter particularly appropriate as the event took place on the Dragon Boat Festival 端午节, when they are traditionally eaten. Some of the guests had a go themselves. And then they tasted a few Chinese wines and some sake, and then sat down to feast…

The pictures show Xiao Wei wrapping zongzi (top), Xiao Hua making tangyuan (right), and one of the guests trying his hand at wrapping jiaozi (below left).

Food Inc

Posted by Fuchsia on February 10, 2010
Development, Environment, Events, Food and health / 6 Comments

Last night I went to a press screening of Food Inc, Robert Kenner’s film about the corporate takeover of the American (and global) agricultural and food industries. For anyone who has read Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma,  or Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation, many of the issues, and even the characters, will be familiar – Pollan and Schlosser both appear in the film – but that doesn’t make it any less chilling. Most shocking was its account of the bullying tactics used by big agro-food corporations to silence their critics, and of the cosy relationship they have with those in power. Continue reading…


Posted by Fuchsia on December 10, 2009
Chinese food culture, Events, Singapore / 14 Comments
At the wine and food congress

At the wine and food congress

I was in Singapore, for the first time, in October, as a panellist at the International Congress of Chinese Cuisine and Wine (ICCCW). I’ll be writing more about the trip later, but I just wanted to mention a small but thought-provoking incident. A young Singaporean Chinese woman came up to me during one of the conference dinners and complimented me on my use of chopsticks, saying that she was unable to use them so proficiently herself. ‘My parents never taught me how to eat with chopsticks,’ she said, ‘because they didn’t feel it was important these days. Actually this is common among my generation. Now some of the local clan associations are so concerned about this that they are running classes for the younger generation in how to use chopsticks, as well as language classes in various Chinese dialects.’ Continue reading…

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The Sydney Food Festival

Posted by Fuchsia on November 03, 2009
Chinese cuisine, Cooking, Events / 1 Comment

I’m finally back in London after a crazy month’s travelling: first to Sydney for its International Food Festival, then to Singapore for a food and wine conference, then to Hong Kong and, at the end, Barcelona!

The Sydney food festival was a gathering of chefs and food-writers from all over Australia, Asia, and further afield, including Tetsuya Wakuda, Peter Gordon, David Thomson, Kylie Kwong, Neil Perry and Alvin Leung. The photograph on the left, taken at the opening night of the World Chef’s Showcase, was taken by Marco del Grande of the Sydney Morning Herald. Continue reading…