On the shelf

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 August, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 August, 2009, 12:00am

We make a lot of hummus during the summer, using it as a dip for crudites and chips, and spreading it on bread for a quick snack. The ingredients are staples in our kitchen: chickpeas, garlic, fresh lemon juice, olive oil and tahini. The Delphic brand of tahini is made in Greece and contains no genetically modified ingredients - only sesame paste. It's HK$65.80 for 350 grams from Great, Pacific Place, Admiralty (tel: 2918 9986).

The price of rendered goose fat in Hong Kong is off-putting - at Great, a jar of Rougie brand graisse d'oie sells for HK$70 for 320 grams, which means the cost-per-gram is more expensive than that of a fresh goose. But rendered fat - whether it's from geese, ducks or pigs - is an essential ingredient for making confit and rillettes. If you're careful to keep the fat at just below the simmering point (which it should be anyway for confit and rillettes) then it can be reused several times, or until it gets too salty - and after that, it's delicious for sauteing potatoes and vegetables.

Singaporean friends swear by the Prima Taste laksa mix - which seems strange; the Lion City has many places which serve great laksa. It isn't as 'ready to cook' as it claims - the three packets in the box have the sambal and the pastes needed to make the laksa gravy but you need to buy noodles, plus what the packet calls 'optional ingredients' that no bowl of curry laksa we've ever seen has omitted: fried bean curd, bean sprouts, fish cake and prawns. It's about HK$35 from City'super (Times Square, Causeway Bay, tel: 2506 2888; New Town Plaza, Sha Tin, tel: 2603 3488; Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2375 8222; IFC mall, Central, tel: 2234 7128) and in the food section at Wing On in Central (tel: 2852 1888).