At home,  Baking Recipes,  Experiments & experiences

Our Lenten Table 2011: Part I

Living in a house full of growing carnivores is a bit tough on someone who prefers fish and vegetables over pork or beef. It’s not that my brothers don’t eat fish and veggies, they just like meat better. Man’s meat, you know? Anyway, since Lent means no meat, it was my turn to jump for joy this time.

While my Mother was busy cooking our special meal, I decided to join in on the fun and bake something vegetable-themed in the spirit of Lent. I came across this bread recipe a few weeks ago and it looked interesting to me because it contained zucchini, and… are you ready for this?


Wait, what? Bread made with broccoli? Am I out of my mind? It didn’t actually occur to me as strange that there was broccoli in this bread, although I don’t know what had gotten into me to try this particular recipe. I have to say though that the texture of the batter was so gorgeously golden I so wanted to lick it off my KitchenAide. It was a pretty darn gorgeous-looking bread too, coming out of the oven, only my nose kept getting filled with that strange smell.

Later on I was told it was the smell of broccoli. Well, broccoli certainly never smelled like that to me. I guess it must have been my fault, adding in a tad bit more broccoli than the half cup the recipe called for, because ultimately it turned into a broccoli bread. I couldn’t get past the smell every time I have to put it in my mouth so I ended up not liking it at all. And yet strangely enough, the boys liked it. My Mother liked it. Everybody else liked it.

I must really have a strange tongue. Anyway, here’s a link to the recipe just in case anybody’s interested, but it’s up to you whether you’re brave enough to try it, and if you’re persuasive enough to get other people to eat it. (Just a tip: Don’t tell them about the broccoli!) I really can’t explain the taste to you but they say it has kind of the essence of broccoli. I actually really really like broccoli but I’ve never tasted it like this before.


Meat is easier and more common in Chinese cooking, or at least it is in our house. Which is why I think My Mum gets a kick out of planning meals for Lent because she takes this opportunity to think of new ways to serve vegetables and seafoods. Guess now we know where I got my food-lovin’ from. That’s one more thing I got from my Mother aside from her penmanship, her looks (or so I’ve been told, because I’m bad at seeing resemblances of faces), and love for art.

So here’s what she made us eat (that sounds so forced!) for dinner during Maundy Thursday:

Vietnamese Spring Rolls with vermicelli, shiitake mushrooms, shrimp and this sweet-spicy hot sauce we got from our visit to Vietnam last Christmas. It’s dipped in a special lemon and fish sauce concoction, although I dipped mine in vinegar with chili because I roll that way. It’s a good thing she made lots of these since I’m pretty sure my brothers and I would have valiantly fought over the last roll with our mighty forks.

And she also made me chop up a bunch of cucumbers for this Japanese Kani Salad. It’s a staple Japanese salad made with strips of cucumber, ripe mangoes, crabsticks and nori sheets mixed with Japanese mayonnaise. Simple but so good. 

And we had one of my favourite dishes here at home, Broccoli with these yummy little Fish Cakes. I love the fish cakes especially, because it draws in the sauce of the dish and when you bite into one, all the juices just explode in your mouth. It is phenomenal and works well in clear soups too. And in case you were wondering, the broccoli used here were what I left over from the recipe above, although judging from the quantity used for both, it would seem I was the one who used the leftovers.

The fare for Good Friday included:

Smoked Salmon Salad with pears, grapes and Mandarin orange with Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette. I like eating my smoked salmon with drops of lemon. There was this Angel Hair Pasta Dish which looks as though it’s been victimized by a hurricane. Mother made it with zucchini, sardines and tuna, with an egg base for the sauce. Then she scattered some fresh basil leaves from the garden and sprinkled some Parmesan over the top. I don’t really know what else she mixed in here because that’s all I could gather as I ate the dish, but it was delicious. I just don’t know what it’s called.

We also had this perfectly Grilled Tuna with Abalone Mushroom and Onions. It was impossible to stop picking off this hot plate! And because here lives a houseful of coffee addicts, we had for dessert some amazing homemade Coffee Jelly goodness!


For Part II, another special recipe for my Mum’s birthday, and the places we visited and foods we ate for Black Saturday. Click on to the next entry!


  • Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

    This food all looks amazing. But that bread in particular looks wonderful. It reminds me of the color and texture of some of the rich breads my wife and I had in Dublin and other parts of Ireland. I love making zucchini bread so I say bring on the broccoli.

    • Clarisse Shaina

      Ahh I hope I get to have a taste of those Irish breads soon. I am yet to go as far as Europe although I dream about it all the time! I guess having broccoli in my bread just takes a bit more getting used to for me, although I have made so many things with zucchini in them.

      Thank you for the wonderful comment, by the way! 🙂

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