Chicken and pumpkin soup

This was a surprisingly good soup. Well worth the effort of using the pressure cooker. Give it a go.



  • Pressure cooker (Cook, McDaniel et al. 2021)
  • Stick blender


  • Pumpkin (Men, Choi et al. 2021)
  • Shallot
  • Bird’s eye chillies (Shi, Riley et al. 2018)
  • Vegetable stock
  • Chicken thigh
  • Sesame oil (Wan, Li et al. 2015, Jayaraj, Narasimhulu et al. 2020)
  • Spring onion
  • Sourdough roll


  1. Place a quarter of a Kent pumpkin (with the skin attached) into the pressure cooker chamber and 500 mL of stock.
  2. Peel shallot and cut it into quarters. Add it to the pressure cooker.
  3. Cut two birds’ eye chillies longitudinally and add them into the pressure cooker.
  4. Place the chicken thigh on the pumpkin and pour some sesame oil over the skin.
  5. Seal the lid of the pressure cooker and cook for 45 minutes.
  6. Open the lid and carefully remove the chicken thigh.
  7. Pull the meat from the chicken and set it aside.
  8. Process the contents of the pressure cooker with a stick blender until smooth.
  9. Place the chicken pieces into the middle of a shallow bowl.
  10. Ladle soup around the chicken.
  11. Garnish the soup with spring onion.
  12. Toast the bread and enjoy soaking up some of the spicy soup.
  13. Give thanks to the Lord.
  14. Enjoy the soup with a spoon.



Cook, R. K., et al. (2021). “Use of a Pressure Cooker to Achieve Sterilization for an Expeditionary Environment.” J Spec Oper Med 21(1): 37-39.

BACKGROUND: Sterilization of healthcare instruments in an expeditionary environment presents a myriad of challenges including portability, cost, and sufficient electrical power. Using pressure cookers to sterilize instruments presents a low-cost option for sterilization in prehospital settings. This project’s objective was to determine if sterility can be achieved using a commercially available pressure cooker. METHODS: Presto(R) 4-quart stainless steel pressure cookers were heated using Cuisinart(R) CB-30 cast-iron single burners. One 3M Attest 1292 Rapid Readout Biological Indicator and one 3M Comply SteriGage integrator strip were sealed in a Henry Schein(R) Sterilization Pouch and placed in a pressure cooker and brought to a pressure of 103.4kPa. Sterility was verified after 20 minutes at pressure. The Attest vials were incubated in a 3M Attest 290 Auto-Reader for 3 hours with a control vial. RESULTS: Sterility using the pressure cooker was achieved in all tested bags, integrator strips, and Attest vials (n = 128). The mean time to achieve the necessary 103.4kPa was 379 seconds (standard deviation (SD) = 77). Neither the ambient temperature nor humidity were found to affect the pressure cooker’s time to achieve adequate pressure, nor the achieved depth on the integrator strip (all p > .05). CONCLUSION: This study provides evidence that sterilization is possible with offthe- shelf pressure cookers. Though lacking US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, the use of this commercially available pressure cooker may provide a method of sterilization requiring minimal resources from providers working in expeditionary environments.

Jayaraj, P., et al. (2020). “Sesamol: a powerful functional food ingredient from sesame oil for cardioprotection.” Food Funct 11(2): 1198-1210.

Phytophenols are important bioactive food based chemical entities, largely present in several natural sources. Among them, sesamol is one of the key natural phenols found in sesame seeds, Piper cubeba etc. Several studies have reported that sesame oil is a potent cardioprotective functional food. Papers on the utility of sesamol in sesame oil (the chemical name of sesamol is methylenedioxyphenol, MDP) have appeared in the literature, though there is no single concise review on the usefulness of sesamol in sesame oil in CVD in the literature. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the most challenging health problem encountered by the global population. There has been increasing interest in the growth of effective cardiovascular therapeutics, specifically of natural origin. Among various natural sources of chemicals, phytochemicals are micronutrients and bio-compatible scaffolds having an extraordinary efficacy at multiple disease targets with minimal or no adverse effect. This review offers a perspective on the existing literature on functional ingredients in sesame oil with particular focus on sesamol and its derivatives having nutritional and cardioprotective properties. This is demonstrated to have shown a specifically modulating oxidative enzyme myeloperoxidase (MPO) and other proteins which are detrimental to human well-being. The molecular mechanism of cardioprotection by this food ingredient is primarily attributed to the methylenedioxy group present in the sesamol component.

Men, X., et al. (2021). “Physicochemical, nutritional and functional properties of Cucurbita moschata.” Food Sci Biotechnol 30(2): 171-183.

Cucurbita moschata is widely planted in most parts of the world, and is rich in carotenoids, vitamins, dietary fiber, minerals, and phenolic compounds. It also has important medicinal value. Some related research has proven that Cucurbita moschata has the potential ability to induce anti-obesity, anti-diabetic, antibacterial, and anticancer effects. At the same time, it has attracted more attention in the medical field. These nutrients and bioactive compounds in Cucurbita moschata have important effects on human health. In order to make better use of this crop, it still needs further study. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to summarize the physicochemical properties and nutritional components of Cucurbita moschata, and to provide a reference for further research on the benefits of on human health.

Shi, Z., et al. (2018). “Chilli intake is inversely associated with hypertension among adults.” Clin Nutr ESPEN23: 67-72.

BACKGROUND & AIMS: This study aimed to examine the association between chilli intake and the incidence of hypertension in a Chinese adult population. METHODS: Adults aged 20-75 years in the China Health and Nutrition Survey were followed from 1991 to 2011. Dietary data were collected during home visits using a 3-day food record in 1991, 1993, 1997, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2011. Cox regression was used in the analysis. Blood pressure was measured at each data collection point. RESULTS: 13,670 adults were followed for a median of 9.0 years. During 132,089 person years of follow-up 4040 subjects developed hypertension. Chilli consumption was inversely associated with the incidence of hypertension. The incidence rate of hypertension was 30.5, 33.4, 31.9, and 24.0 per 1000 person years among those who consumed no chilli or 1-20, 20.1-50, ≥50.1 g/day respectively. Adjusting for age, gender, energy intake, sodium and fat intake, smoking, alcohol consumption and physical activity, those with increasing cumulative average chilli intake were less likely to develop hypertension: 0, 1-20, 20.1-50 and ≥50.1 g/day had a hazard ratio (HR) for hypertension of 1.00, 0.80 (95%CI 0.73-0.88), 0.81 (0.73-0.89) and 0.65 (0.57-0.75) (p for trend <0.001) respectively. The association was independent of overall dietary patterns and BMI. There was no significant interaction between chilli intake and gender, income, education and residence (urban/rural) in relation to the risk of hypertension. CONCLUSIONS: Chilli intake is inversely associated with the risk of developing hypertension in Chinese adults.

Wan, Y., et al. (2015). “The relationship of antioxidant components and antioxidant activity of sesame seed oil.” J Sci Food Agric 95(13): 2571-2578.

Although sesame seed oil contains high levels of unsaturated fatty acids and even a small amount of free fatty acids in its unrefined flavored form, it shows markedly greater stability than other dietary vegetable oils. The good stability of sesame seed oil against autoxidation has been ascribed not only to its inherent lignans and tocopherols but also to browning reaction products generated when sesame seeds are roasted. Also, there is a strong synergistic effect among these components. The lignans in sesame seed oil can be categorized into two types, i.e. inherent lignans (sesamin, sesamolin) and lignans mainly formed during the oil production process (sesamol, sesamolinol, etc.). The most abundant tocopherol in sesame seed oil is γ-tocopherol. This article reviews the antioxidant activities of lignans and tocopherols as well as the browning reaction and its products in sesame seed and/or its oil. It is concluded that the composition and structure of browning reaction products and their impacts on sesame ingredients need to be further studied to better explain the remaining mysteries of sesame oil.

Chicken and bacon congee

Dear Reader, 

How are you travelling with work and life at the moment?

Tomorrow, I’m presenting at a national scientific conference. My paper is on two Acts that occupy a good portion of my work time. I’m grateful to my workmates, who drafted the presentation for me.

This conference will be the first I will have attended for more than two years.

The conference is virtual because it is in Sydney, and Sydney currently has a significant outbreak of COVID-19. The NSW Government has implemented restrictions. 

I don’t mind the idea of virtual conferences. I know I will be safer, and I like the idea that I can participate and sleep in my bed and cook my food each day. It also means I can exercise the way I want. I like living without disruption. I like the routines I have developed. Pandemic life is my life.

Apart from work, I’ve been reading good books, listening to podcasts, and watching YouTube videos.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve read Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson, and David Wilkerson by Gary Wilkerson. I’ve also started the Westminster Confession of Faith.

My current favourite podcast is Gospel in Life, which drops a “show” thrice-weekly and features Timothy Keller, a reformed Presbyterian pastor and communicator from New York City.

I’ve been devouring YouTube videos from The Gospel CoalitionCrossway, and Desiring God. I’ve enjoyed the presentations by Kevin DeYoung, Sinclair Ferguson, John Piper, Jen Wilkin, Melissa Kruger, Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, R.C. Sproul, Sam Alberry, Joni Eareckson Tada, and Rebecca McLaughlin.

I’ve also been walking daily. I’m getting about 40 minutes each morning. I begin anywhere between 4 and 5 am, depending on when I feel like getting out of bed. On weekends, I also try to do the 6 km circuit of Lake Ginninderra each day. All up, I’m doing nearly 40 km each week. This gentle exercise has helped me feel better with less joint pain compared with this time last year.


  • Chicken thighs (2)
  • Diced bacon (100 g)
  • Italian arborio rice (1 cup)
  • Tri-colour quinoa (1 cup)
  • Chicken stock (4 cups)


  1. Wash the rice and quinoa with cold water until the water is clear and not cloudy.
  2. Put the rice and quinoa into the vessel of a slow cooker.
  3. Add in the stock.
  4. Add in the chicken pieces and the bacon.
  5. Cook on low heat for 6 hours.
  6. Remove the cooking vessel and pull out the chicken thighs. Pick the skin and flesh from the chicken thigh bones and add the meat and skin back to the cooking vessel. Unless you leave the chicken thighs out for a few minutes, you’ll find the process of removing the skin and flesh unpleasant as the tips of your fingers burn from the retained heat in the meat. I recommend waiting or trying to ameliorate the problem by wearing a couple of latex gloves on each hand to dampen the transfer of heat from the meat to your nerve ending enriched fingertips.
  7. With a wooden spoon (or a metal spoon if you don’t care about scratching your cookware), break up the chicken flesh and mix it through the congee (also known as jook).
  8. Remove the congee from the cooking vessel and aliquot into containers.
  9. Serve a bowl of congee with some soy sauce.
  10. Given thanks to the Lord and eat with a spoon.

Final thoughts

  • Apart from work, how have you been spending your time?
  • What books have you been reading?
  • What podcasts have you been enjoying this last week?
  • What YouTube videos have you enjoyed lately?
  • Do you get much exercise?
  • Do you attend many professional conferences? How do you feel about virtual meetings?


  • I used Italian Arborio rice because I like using ingredients that aren’t typical. Mixing some Italian with my Chinese makes sense to me. It may not make sense to anyone else, but it works for me.
  • What is congee? Congee or jook is rice gruel. My Mum’s chicken jook is my favourite food.
  • Sinclair Ferguson is Scottish and has the most mellifluous speaking voice. 
  • In the 1980s, The Cross and the Switchblade was popular reading. Friends told me to read it then. I’m slow when it comes to recommended reading.

Aubergine and sous vide chicken laksa

The full recipe can be found at Yummy Lummy. Check it out. 

Aubergine chicken laksa soup


  • Aubergine (Eggplant)
  • Leftover sous vide chicken thigh
  • Coconut cream
  • Laksa paste
  • Red onion (finely diced)
  • Fennel (finely diced)
  • Red cabbage (finely shredded)
  • Coriander leaves, stems and roots (chopped)
  • Fried shallots
  • Lime juice
  • Black whole peppercorns (ground in a mortar with a pestle)
Safety glove


  • Combine the laksa paste, coconut cream, and the fluid from the vacuum bag into a large saucepan and bring to the boil and simmer.
  • Cut the aubergine into thin strips and add into the simmering coconut cream.
  • Add slices of chicken thigh and stir through until the chicken has warmed through.
  • Add in juice from one lime and stir through.
  • Turn off the heat and then add in the red onion, fennel, red cabbage, coriander, and pepper.
  • Transfer everything to a bowl and then garnish with fried shallots.
Aubergine chicken laksa soup

Pan-fried deboned chicken thigh and drumstick with Spam, mushrooms, and kale

Have you ever mixed chicken and Spam together? It’s a great combination. To keep it healthy, I added kale (cooked in butter).

Pan-fried deboned chicken thigh and drumstick with Spam, mushrooms, and kale. Gary Lum.
Pan-fried deboned chicken thigh and drumstick with Spam, mushrooms, and kale.
Continue reading “Pan-fried deboned chicken thigh and drumstick with Spam, mushrooms, and kale”

Deboned oven cooked chicken thigh and drumstick with peas, corn, and cherry tomatoes

It’s worrying me that on getting home these days all I want to do is prepare something simple which will cook and allow me to answer more work e-mails.

Deboned oven cooked chicken thigh and drumstick with peas, corn, and cherry tomatoes. Gary Lum.
Deboned oven cooked chicken thigh and drumstick with peas, corn, and cherry tomatoes.


  • Chicken thigh and chicken drumstick
  • Frozen peas and corn
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Black pepper


  • Remove the drumstick from the thigh.
  • Remove the femur from the thigh.
  • Remove the tibia and fibula from the drumstick.
  • Layout and flatten the thigh and drumstick meat onto a rack.
  • Boil a kettle and then pour boiling water over the skin side of the chicken.
  • Dry the surface of the chicken.
  • Put some frozen peas and corn into a baking tray.
  • Put some cherry tomatoes into a baking tray.
  • Lay the chicken thigh and drumstick flesh on top of the corn and peas.
  • Put the baking tray into an oven and turn it on to 200 °C for 45 minutes.
  • After 45 minutes remove the baking tray and remove the chicken pieces to a plate to rest.
  • Transfer the peas, corn, and tomatoes to a dinner plate.
  • Lay the chicken on top.
Close up. Deboned oven cooked chicken thigh and drumstick with peas, corn, and cherry tomatoes. Gary Lum.
Close up. Deboned oven cooked chicken thigh and drumstick with peas, corn, and cherry tomatoes.

Chicken and vegetables

I came home early today. I’ve got ManFlu. I went to bed last night feeling a little under the weather. I’d had a poor sleep the night before and I wasn’t sure if I had an infection or if I was just over tired.

I woke up this morning with a headache and while at work developed a sore throat, rhinorrhoea, and a cough. Now I feel febrile.

I reckon I’ll be working from home tomorrow.

Pan-fried boneless chicken and vegetables. Gary Lum.
Pan-fried boneless chicken and vegetables.
Continue reading “Chicken and vegetables”

Deboned chicken thigh and drumstick with cauliflower, tomatoes, and avocado

Came home and didn’t feel much like cooking so I removed the bones from a chicken thigh and drumstick and put them into a baking tray. To that I added a piece of cauliflower plus some cherry tomatoes. I seasoned everything with iodised salt and black peppercorns which I’d ground in a mortar with a pestle.

I served it with an avocado cheek.

Pan-fried chicken thigh with creamy peas and cherry tomatoes

Last night I oven cooked a chicken thigh, tonight I pan-fried a deboned chicken thigh and deboned drumstick.

Pan-fried chicken thigh with creamy peas and cherry tomatoes. Gary Lum.
Pan-fried chicken thigh with creamy peas and cherry tomatoes.
Continue reading “Pan-fried chicken thigh with creamy peas and cherry tomatoes”

Chicken, cheese, peas, and corn

Last week I learnt that if I put some baby green peas in a baking tray and put a piece of deboned chicken thigh on top I end up with some peas which remain green and soft and some peas which go brown and crunchy.

I really enjoyed both textures.

Oven cooked chicken, peas, and corn with cheese and butter. Gary Lum.
Oven cooked chicken, peas, and corn with cheese and butter.
Continue reading “Chicken, cheese, peas, and corn”

Takeaway chicken, potato scallops, and seafood salad

I had a busy and longish day. I knew on coming home I’d be working into the evening, and I just didn’t feel like cooking so I went to Jamison Takeaway on the way home.

Normally I have very good experiences with Jamison Takeaway but tonight I was disappointed. I mean, I was happy with the potato scallops and seafood salad. There were as I expected. What I found disappointing was that I asked for a thigh quarter and the person behind the counter ignored my request and gave me a breast. I hate breasts. I really do. I love thighs. Give me thighs over breasts any day.

Continue reading “Takeaway chicken, potato scallops, and seafood salad”
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