Monday, 29 April 2013

I used to.

If you knew me from all those years ago, you'd remember, I was that girl who used to blush in pain as I reluctantly say my name.
When I was growing up, I never used to like my name. 
It's only when I came to London that I made a peace of being 'Suk'.

'Suk' was quite an unusual surname to have as there weren't many around. 
I used to hate the fact that it was rare, and was never really keen on how it sounded.
It used to make me feel like I was an odd ball rather than one of many, which was quite strange because, all I ever wanted to be when I was at school, was to be different, and to stand out.

At the start of every academic year, thought of having to introduce myself was enough to put me off, and used to take all the excitements away from all the things I'd been looking forward to. 
Receiving new text books, making new friends, planning a year ahead on my brand new diary, all those fancy coloured biros that I've been proudly collecting with the intention to do well in the classes and etc., would quite simply shy away, and took a back sit whilst I quietly breathe in and out in fear of having to say my name out loud.
Oh gosh, I can tell you, those moments were painful. Painful to be me, and probably even more painful to be around me.

Yes, I know it may sound so pathetic, but back then, it was one of my greatest fear of all time. It was like the biggest mole or the scar on your forehead that I couldn't get rid of, and I had to carry this one giant catastrophic embarrassment with me forever. I had to grin and bear this painful journey of introducing myself all the way through my adulthood, and it wasn't gonna go away as long as my living life exists! 
It was like 'Oh God, please give me the strength!'.

So, as you can imagine, since getting married, I joyfully started the process of changing my name. I first casually started the process with the many online sites I joined up, which made me giggle as it seemed so wrong that my name sounded so English. 
Then I enthusiastically visited my bank, like a girl on the mission, and proudly presented my marriage certificate. 
I didn't even think twice about being 'Mrs Scott'. For me, it was a done deal. 
You see, I was always so sure that I wanted to take Toby's name. Well, I thought I was anyway.

The day I received my brand new bank card, however, with 'Scott' written all over it, I hesitated. I carried two cards in my purse for days and days. I was reluctant to sign the new card. 
All of at sudden I wasn't quite sure. I wasn't ready to say good-bye to my old self. I kept hearing my old self whispering, 'I quite like being 'Suk'. 
After all these years, and for the first time in my lived life, 'Suk' kind of sounded cool.
For whatever the reason, I felt sort of sad.
Was I scared? Did I feel sad thinking I was loosing part of me? Maybe. 
But it's a bit daft to think that, isn't it? Because actually, as you might say, nothing really changes at all.

I am still the same weird one trying to live this weird and wonderful life in its full potential to be happy, except now, I do that with my lifelong friend, husband!

Prawn Parcels in Aromatic Asian Broth
Serves 4 as starter or 2 as main

for the broth
chicken carcass or some chicken wings
1 small pork spare rib
1 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
10 cloves
5 white peppercorn
5 black peppercorn
bunch of spring onions
5 garlic cloves
1inch ginger
pinch of salt

for the parcels
250g raw king prawns
1/2 inch ginger, grated
1 garlic clove, grated
1 green chilli, roughly chopped (use less if you don't like it hot)
handful of coriander, roughly chopped
2 spring onions, roughly chopped
180g cooked rice (I used mixed wild rice which has more bite to it)
2tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp mirin
pinch of white pepper
4 large savoy cabbage leaves (use 8 small leaves instead, if your leaves are too small)
pinch of salt

for the garnish
Shichimi powder (optional)
some red chilli, thinly sliced
some spring onion, finely sliced

This is a sort of dish I crave when I feel like my body's been overly nourished with rich and heavy food. Its aromatic broth will gently calm your palate, whilst sweet juicy prawns wrapped up in green cabbage leaves comfort you with a substance.

I have used prawns for this recipe but do feel free to use ground beef, pork or even maybe some shiitake mushrooms if you prefer. Just remember to season well. If you are going to use mushrooms as your choice of filling, you might want to blanch them first to remove some excess water, and season well with some soy sauce and sesame oil.
It can appear a bit fiddly to make, but trust me, you'll be so glad that you've had a go.

First thing you need to do is making the broth, which is quite simple.
Put all the ingredients for the broth in a large sauce pan, and fill it with water, about 2-2.5 litre. Bring it to boil, gently simmer for 2-3 hours, let it cool down a little when ready, and run it through the sieve to collect the liquid.
Now, you want to keep this broth in the fridge for a while, preferably overnight, or until the fat sets hard on the surface so it is easy to remove the fat from the broth. 
I like doing this because this process will make my broth extra lean but with all the flavours I need.
One thing I will say though, is please, do make your broth. 
I'd like to say you can just use shop bought chicken stock and it will possibly do the job, but it won't be the same.

For the parcels, first of all, bring the water to boil in the medium sauce pan, put the savoy cabbage leaves, add pinch of salt, and boil them for about minute or so until the leaves are softened a little.
Rinse the cabbage leaves in ice cold water, drain and give it a good squeeze to remove all excess water.
Carefully spread each leaves on to your chopping board, remove as much as of the hard stem bits in the middle, and set a side.

Now, onto the prawn filling. Place prawns, ginger, chilli, garlic, coriander and spring onion into your food processor, and whizz them up until it resembles a course paste.
Tip those into a large mixing bowl, add your cooked rice, mirin, soy sauce and white pepper, and give it a good stir.

To make the parcel, place your cabbage leave onto the clean surface, and spoon the prawn mixture onto the cabbage. 
You want to start wrapping this up by folding the softer bottom end of cabbage leaves first rather than the stem end, then the sides and just roll them until you get to the stem end. Secure it with couple of cocktail sticks.
Repeat the process until you finish all four of them.

Put your broth you made earlier in a large shallow saucepan and bring it to simmer.
Place your prawn parcels, and simmer gently for about 15mins.

You can finish off the dish with the sprinkle of some Shichimi powder, thinly sliced red chilli and spring onion.
Hope you enjoy.

I must admit, I found it very very strange saying the word 'husband'. 
I get all giddy and ever so slightly embarrassed when I say 'the word'.


  1. What a gorgeous dish, so sophisticated and well-presented. I think I'll always keep my family name, just because my name just fits it and I can't imagine anything else going with it just as well!

  2. Love your blog, the photography, your story - everything. Many congrats, my dear x s

  3. Hello to you both leaf and S,

    Seeing your comments felt like I'd just seen my old friends. It is funny old world, blogging. You really get to know people, and feel so much closer than the distance of the screen your are staring despite the fact that we may be very, very far away from each other.
    Thank you, for your love and support.

    S x

  4. Beautiful, and congratulations. I'd keep my name too if I marry one day.

  5. I just like you blog and your story... congratulations.. I want to share with you something: Creamy Cocoa.. In our India will said - "KUCH MITHA HOJAYE"

    Best Regards

  6. I am new to your blog and its absolutely gorgeous :) looking forward to read more.

  7. I'm glad I found your blog. Enjoying your writings and creative recipes. You should have hyphenated, as "Suk" is still and always will be a part of your life. Just an opinion.