The Worst Cook In The World

by Lori Dwyer on July 19, 2012 · 33 comments

I am a terrible cook. That’s been documented here before, many times. I can tell you without fear of retribution that I’ve inherited this from my mother, who is also pretty hopeless. Although she scores bonus points for trying, where I’ve all but given up.

I’ve always had this suspicion that my cooking wasn’t that great. My husband used to lie to me, bless him– as long as I cooked for him every night, he would tell me it was just fine.

Illusion, shattered. My four year old has set me straight. I am banned from cooking pancakes. Pancakes, for pity’s sake. Apparently– and he’s not shy about telling people this– when mum cooks pancakes they taste ‘yucky’. So we need to buy them from Woolies, already cooked.

I can tell you that’s slightly soul destroying. In an attempt to not let the painfully abrupt honesty of small children damage my self esteem, I’ve decided to reinvent myself with a new persona– that of Cher from Mermaids. Flaky and slightly eccentric but lovable mum who over-shares and can only cook hors d’oeuvres and finger foods.

Being sponsored by Chan’s Yum Cha At Home and their new range of dumplings serves that purpose perfectly. I’m going to christen them part of my “I can’t believe I didn’t cook that!” repertoire.

Chan’s sent us a big dry–iced box of dumplings to sample. I shrieked in terror like a big girl on discovering that some of them had prawns in them– we know how I feel about seafood. But the kidlets loved them. The Bump eats pretty much everything and was into them straight away. The Chop took some cajoling and an introduction to fish fingers before he’d venture to the prawn money bags– but when he did, he actually ate them (after checking, first that they came from a packet and I hadn’t, you know, made them myself or anything weird like that).

After recovering from my seafood shock, I went with the more palatable shitake dumplings, and a big serve of immune system enhancing, cough and cold fighting TomYum soup, a la Tefal’s Soup and Co recipe….

Super Cold Fighting TomYum Soup
+ 200g chicken breast
+ 150g mushrooms
+ 1 shallot
+ 1 clove garlic
+ 4cm ginger
+ 3 sticks lemongrass
+ 1 lime
+ 1 bunch coriander
+ 600ml low sodium vegetable stock
+ 1 small fresh red chilli pepper
+ 1 tbsp fish sauce
+ 200ml low fat coconut milk or evaporated milk with coconut essence
Cut the chicken fillets into fine strips. Quickly was the mushrooms and chop very finely. Peel the shallot and the clove of Garlic and cut them as finely as possible.

Peel the ginger and cut it in very fine rounds. Divide the lemongrass into sections and squeeze the lime to extract the juice. Remove the leaves from the coriander.

Place the garlic, shallot, lemongrass, chilli pepper, lime juice, ginger, fish sauce and stock into the Soup and Co.

Use the Soup and Co in manual mode. Set the timer for 25 minutes and the temperature to 100c. Confirm by pressing the OK button.

Leave to cook for 20 minutes, then add the chicken, mushroom and coconut milk through the top of the appliance without stopping the cooking programme.

Serve very hot, sprinkling the bowls with coriander leaves. You can remove the lemongrass if it does not look very appetising in the bowl.
Nom nom nom.

And why yes, that’s a bamboo steamer in the photo. I know. I was a bit scared, too, having not used one before. But the lovely Lucy from Chan’s assured me that steaming was easy and even I couldn’t f*ck it up. I beg to differ. I did manage to f*ck it up, just slightly, with overcooked dumplings sticking to the bottom of the steamer.

And they still tasted delicious. As an added bonus, the dumplings come frozen in trays, each with their own little indent. And said indents make for fantastic paint trays, of you’re an
arts and crafts kinda mum (which I’m not, really).

The point of this post…? Chan’s Yum Cha At Home are supporting Aussie bloggers by sponsoring me to go to this years ProBlogger Training Day, where I will be sure to make an idiot of myself in front of people way cooler than me. Chan’s products are fresh frozen, made with love, and they’re an Australian owned, family company– the Lucy I was referring to earlier is Lucy Chan herself. You can find their products in Woolies and CostCo and they’ll even be in Coles freezers by the end of August. And you should buy them.

Or at the very least, enter this competition to win a package containing the full range of dumplings- Shitake dumplings, Prawn Hargow and Steam Selection; packed in cold, delivered to your doorstep, so you can try the easy steaming, noodle–esque texture of shitake dumplings for yourself. For logistical reasons you need to be in New South Wales or Victoria, Australia to enter this competition.

I’ve got five packs to be shipped out. To win, leave me a comment here and let me know… Do you cook your own Chinese? Do you steam? Do you eat dumplings, and what do you eat with them? (In case you’re wondering, this is my first time. Unless you count the spring rolls I lived on during my first few years at university… I don’t.)

The entry the amuses, confuses, bemuses or otherwise entertains me the most wins. I reserve the right to illicit the opinions of others while making this choice. My decision is final and no discussion or bitching of any kind will be entered into.

This one’s open to New South Wales and Victorian residents only.
Entries open Thursday 19th July and close midnight (AEST) on Thursday 26th July.

The winner will be announced via RRSAHM’s FaceBook page and Twitter feed, and probably in the newsletter as well. Winners will be emailed and have 48 hours to respond to that email with their postal address, or the prize will be redrawn. 

Your comment MUST be accompanied by a valid email address– all entries without an email address will be disqualified. (If you’re on Blogger, make sure you’re logged in then click this link to set your email address to reply-able.)

You time starts… now. Happy Yum Cha!!

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda Hardy July 26, 2012 at 11:02 pm

OMG It's open til midnight tonight and it's only 10:57, this is DESTINY.

Love Chinese food. Love it to bits. Can't cook it, but there's this wonderful place down a seedy looking laneway that's virtually unmarked as a restaurant but has the most magnificent dumplings you have ever imagined. (I imagine a lot of food, it tastes better in my head than when I'm let loose in the kitchen).

Anyway, we used to go to this Dumpling House once a week when I was at Uni, about a decade ago. Never been since I had kids. I miss it. I miss Chinese food. I'm going to order some tomorrow night. (I nearly wrote 'cook some', but that would be a blatant lie).

Amanda (


luckydragon July 26, 2012 at 7:31 pm

I have not been successful in making dumplings but I love eating them.


Anonymous July 26, 2012 at 7:29 pm

I have not been successful in making dumplings but I love eating them.


Julia Robertson July 26, 2012 at 7:21 am

There's good reason its known as YUM cha – simply because it is YUM! We are a family of dumpling lovers, but sadly live in a small country (NSW) town without any good dumpling options. So when we go to the Big Smoke we stuff ourselves silly in Chinatown.
Would love to sample these as we don't get to the Big Smoke as often as we would like to eat dumplings!


Beth Healey July 24, 2012 at 7:27 am

I LIKE Chinese
Its warm and yummy
Never failing to please
With Dumplings and Rice
It's always so nice
Actually ….
I LOVE Chinese!!!


Soninicole July 23, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Oooh, love any type of yum cha… problem is I can't just stop at 1, or 2, or 3…


Lirion July 23, 2012 at 9:08 pm

DUMPLINGS!!!! Dumplings dumplings dumplings!!! :)
Can we tell I might have a slight fixation on these tasty bite sized morsels. Also, cheap. Dumplings are an amazing 'I can't be bothered' meal, whether I grab a quick plate on the way home, or go to the freezer and pull out a bag I've bought (from the same restaurant who I eat in at – they also sell take home bags for your freezer so you can have a quick at home fix!).

Vinegar soy and chilli are a must for me.
If I'm at home I'll sometimes cook them up in chicken broth or add them to Tom Yum Soup. So much yum.

I tend to pan fry the red meat ones – steamed beef just isn't as good I find – but prefer to steam the others.

Can we tell I'd really like to win some of these? :) I am ALWAYS up for new dumpling adventures!


kk July 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm

I am chinese, so therefore, of course I love dumplings. And I like to steam them and pop them in my mouth!


vicki emanuel July 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm

I love Chan's dumplings far better than the only other yum cha option in the Tweed Area the RSL club
Finding the yummy dumplings in Woolies demolished the final barrier holding back the seachange from Sydney.


Anonymous July 23, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Real bummer for ppl who want to enter but cant because they don't have any of the listed accounts and no desire to leave their email address on a public forum. Imagine how many more ppl would come to your page & enter if you changed it to something a little more user friendly???!!!


Kylie July 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Lucky enough to grow up in HK I have passed my love of dim sum on to my kids and they'll even go chicken feet (which I won't….) but NEVER cooked it at home – but I am ready, willing and able to be converted! A tip for anyone in Melbourne – the Best Dumplings in town are at Hutong in the City. Absolute best.


Vanessa Carr July 23, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Love, love, love dumplings!! They are the bomb & are best eaten with that slightly sticky, salty, soy sauce concoction. Yummy :-)


Bronwyn July 23, 2012 at 10:13 am

My husband thinks that good yum cha is dim sims and spring rolls! I love dumplings and would love to be able to expand his horizons (or just eat them all myself!)


Ann-Marie July 22, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Our 3yo loves spring rolls and eats more than you or I from our uni days (hey, I studied a double-degree so I had to eat double the usual crap).

However, we spoiled him – we took him (and his older brother) to Borneo last year. He loved the food there. A lot. A hell of a lot. To the point where, after returning home, he now snubs ANY attempt I make to cook it myself. He has even started smack-talking me about it: "Mum, are these your attempts to TRYYYYYYY and be Borneo, or did you at least buy Woolies today?"

Yeah – from a 3YO!! So, I would love this to try and regain some cred – yep, I am admitting that I am going to try something new and lie to my 3yo son about it.

What's the problem – it's not like he can read my entry. :P


karin arnold July 22, 2012 at 8:42 pm

I would have a conundrum of epic proportions on my hands if I were to win this. I had a major love affair with steamed dumplings when I visited China (in my life BC)and have since tried to replicate it at various dumpling selling venues… it's not the same and I think it is the local vinegar and chilli they used in the little middle of China town (ya know, population only 4 million there) I called home for 2 months. Deeee-vine. . Conundrum Part one: What if the vinegar/chilli condiment WAS the same or better and I became addicted. Conundrum part 2: What would my family eat for dinner once I tried "just one to make sure they are good" at 2.30pm. Conundrum part 3: What if it weren't? Conundrum part 4 I have never attempted to steam my own. Steaming has always scared me. I tried steaming fish once. The result looked more like the middle stages of "Make Your Own Recycled Paper" set I got for my 9th birthday. Time to face my fears… (and I would rather face steaming dumplings than spiders so lets start here) – karzie@gmail.conm just in case)


karin arnold July 22, 2012 at 8:37 pm

This comment has been removed by the author.


Anonymous July 22, 2012 at 7:47 pm

Oops! Forgot to put my email address.
Twitter ID: @LapBandGirl



Anonymous July 22, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Love me some cook-at-home Chinese food… Here's how I do it: pick up the phone and order 'number 7' (Prawn gow-gees) and 'number 43' sweet and sour chicken with fried rice..
So if I win this dumpling pack I'll actually be cooking Chinese food… For real!!


K.E.L. July 22, 2012 at 7:41 pm

This comment has been removed by the author.


K.E.L. July 22, 2012 at 7:37 pm

I've dabbled in spring-roll-making before. I was very popular with my hubby's friends for a while there, and then I had kids and got lazy. It's a very time consuming job, and I decided it was much easier to 'cook' spring rolls from a box.


Anonymous July 22, 2012 at 7:24 pm

I LOVE dumplings!! I have attempted to make my own… yours stick to the steamer – still better than my attempt which opened and proceeded to lose their stuffing!
These look delicious!! I love to get my cook on but dumplings have me stumped!!

Kristie –


The Babbling Bandit July 22, 2012 at 7:24 pm

We love Chinese food in our house. My 3.5 yo absolutely loves dumplings, they are his favourite food. He is the only 3.5yo that I know who demands yum cha on waking every Saturday morning.

The thing is Ned, said 3.5 yo, is an extremely fussy eater. Always has been. But he loves dumplings. And rice. Oh and noodles. Anything that comes with soy sauce but he also demands Chinese vinegar now as well.

One of my friends is Chinese and she reckons Ned must have some Chinese ancestry because he's so into Chinese food.

Good post/comp. Well done Chans for supporting bloggers.



Anonymous July 22, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Hey, no to cooking Chinese,no need when it's close by and well made. Don't steam , put it in the microwave and destroy it. I prefer to dip in soy mixed with sweet chilli sauce, Yum.


Donna Jones July 22, 2012 at 6:55 pm

My daughter often tells the yum cha man that her dad looks like him. Even though he is lucky to be 5 foot and her dad is 6'5 and doesnt loo asian. no point to this post other than I would like to win :)


Becci July 22, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Love love love dumplings! Also love going to yum cha (except for the queues at really good places, the rushed service of way too many servings which you can't keep track of how much you've spent and the noise!). But I've got a couple of bamboo steamers I've only used once and have been waiting for a quality frozen product to try! Roll them over here!!


Maya, Mo and Me July 22, 2012 at 6:42 pm

I love chinese food! I love making cashew nut chicken stir fry although I hate cutting up all the dang veggies all the time, so I use the food processor to chop them up – yay to technology ;)

When we go to yum cha (back in the 'day' before kids) we love anything with seafood. Also those deep fried fan prawny ones lol


Melissa July 19, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Ooh I love Chinese food! Unfortunately, my at-home efforts consist of steamed (or nuked) supermarket dim sims, or frozen finger food that goes on a tray in the oven :/


The Flying Drunken Monkey July 19, 2012 at 5:49 pm

I looooove dumplings! But I have never, ever cooked them. I've only been to Yum Cha when I used to work with a lot of Asian people and they had to tell me what to order because I had no idea. Lily has only had a few gyoza with her sushi occasionally. I know she'd love dumplings but I'm way too scared to make them. Mr Monkey could probably make them but being a chef he's never bloody home to cook for me! These'd be perfect!


dachlostar July 19, 2012 at 5:01 pm

When we lived in Sydney we used to yum-cha but I haven't found a good one in Canberra.
I'll have to give the package DIY a go at some stage.

Yes, I know The ACT is not NSW but I figure that NSW is all around me so technically I am *in* NSW.
Actually, right now, at this very second, I am in NSW. It won't last long but for now I'm totes eligible.


Kelly @ HT and T July 19, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Oops, email is


Kelly @ HT and T July 19, 2012 at 4:36 pm

We're dumpling fanatics in our house, steamed or fried, either way is fanbloodyrastic. We cook our own chinese often… any asian food actually. My husband thinks he is asian, or at least hopes he was in a past life. I call him an egg, he's yellow on the inside but white to look at.


Dorothy Krajewski July 19, 2012 at 10:54 am

Do the come with the steamer? I must have a steamer!

Btw, I love your terms and conditions, I must have them, too :)


alison July 19, 2012 at 9:40 am

I/We looooove dumplings. Only problem is that our favourite yum cha place got slapped with a $40,000 fine for uncleanliness and has subsequently shut down. At least at home, it's my own mess…


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