Early last week The Swede deemed me the world’s worst housewife.
Fine, I don’t like doing the dishes. But it is hardly my fault: I have a phobia when it comes to hand-washing glassware. Gently sponging the inside of a wine glass, placing my ulnar artery in the perfect position to be sliced open when the delicate rim shatters? I don’t think so. And it is The Swede who likes our wine glasses hand-washed in the first place. So really…isn’t it his own shortcoming?
Cleaning toilets really isn’t my thing (is it anyone’s?). Vacuuming is a bore. And why make the bed when we are climbing back into it in a few hours?
So, yes. Perhaps on paper I am a pretty average lady of the house. But I can cook…and sometimes I’m funny. That has to be worth something.
Anyway, as per usual, I took his comment sorely to heart and spent the remainder of the week running around being the best housewife anyone has ever seen. In retrospect, he probably found this even more annoying, considering I felt the need to text him proudly each and every time I completed a chore. But seriously, what did he expect? There is no point in doing anything good if nobody knows about it.
That aside, our home was bedecked with flowers, the sheets smelt freshly laundered, the carpet was dirt free, the kitchen was sparkling and the toilet was clean enough to eat off. If you discount the fact that the cleaning lady came through on Tuesday, it all sounds really quite good.
And then one evening, as I smugly sat pulling clean contents out of the washing machine, I came across the poor, shrunken remains of a Hugo Boss jumper. The Swede’s no-longer-available-in-store-£230-favourite-Hugo-Boss-jumper. My career as a housewife was over. My shining self-made glory proved only to be a fleeting insight into what could have been.
I sadly dragged my feet down to the kitchen and started dinner. It wasn’t the first time I had used cooking to sweeten an otherwise sour situation – and it certainly won’t be the last. On the plus side, the dumplings I whipped up were absolutely delicious – if I don’t say so myself…but, to be fair, The Swede said so too. I highly recommend giving them a whirl. Also, I am now the proud owner of a very warm woollen Hugo Boss jumper.
Pork and Prawn Dumplings with Chilli Oil
For the Dumplings
Pack of pre-made wonton wrappers, square in shape
250g free range pork mince
150g raw prawns, peeled, de-veined and roughly chopped
3 spring onions / scallions, thinly sliced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
5 water chestnuts, diced
2 coriander roots, thinly sliced
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp Shaoxing rice wine
1 tsp sesame oil
For the Chilli Oil
1/4 cup light soy sauce
2 tbsp Chinese black rice vinegar*
1 tbsp chilli oil**
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar
For the dumpling filling, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, combine all the ingredients for the chilli oil and set aside.
To wrap the dumplings, place 1 teaspoon of filling in the centre of a wrapper. Dip a finger into a small bowl of cold water and run it along the edge – this will help seal the dumpling. Fold the wrapper upwards to form a triangle and pinch to seal the filling tightly, ensuring there is no space for leakage. Using your thumb and index finger of both hands, fold both corners of the dumpling downwards, before lifting the right corner over the left corner and pinching to stick tight with a touch more water to seal. Transfer the finished dumpling to a platter lined with baking paper.
To steam, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Line a bamboo or metal steaming basket with baking paper or lettuce leaves to fit. Arrange as many dumplings as will fit in the basket without them touching, cover and steam for 4 minutes. Remove with tongs to serving plates and repeat with the remaining dumplings.
As an alternative, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add several dumplings at a time and boil for 2 minutes.
To serve, dress the steamed or boiled dumplings with chilli oil and top with coriander and fried shallots.
*I use Chinkiang Chinese black vinegar. It is my absolute favourite and should be available in most Asian grocery stores.
**I used the chilli oil below, which I found at my local Asian grocery store. It added a really excellent flavour, I liked the pieces of fried chilli and it had a more natural colour than some of the other chilli oils available on the shelf.