Thai Food

Leftovers lunch

Waste not want not! Whenever I cook a Thai meal there’s amost always some curry and rice left, obviously you can just reheat the curry the next day and eat it but another option is “Khao krook…” or rice mixed with… the first time I had this was in Samui and it was made with Massaman curry and it was really yummy after that I started making it myself. You don’t often find it on restaurant menus anyway. It’s so easy just put the curry in your wok to heat it up and evaporate off some of the moisture. Then add the rice, you won’t need any oil as the rice will ‘fry’ in the curry’s coconut oil. So just mix it all up and stir-fry it like normal fried rice until it’s hot and any liquid from the curry is dried out. It’s great on it’s own but it’s extra good with a fried egg on top. The one here, which I just had for lunch, is made with green curry, Paneng curry and Massaman are really good too. Give it a go!

Standard
Eggs

Happy hens = tasty eggs

IMG_2177

We’ve been keeping hens for a few years now, when I was a kid we had forty hens at home at one point! There’s nothing better than fresh eggs and we always have friends who want any of our oversupply. At the moment we have four hens who free range round our garden not only do they produce eggs but they eat bugs and are mobile fertilizer units! We get 2- 4 eggs a day, we’ve just had a broody hen who was sitting on the eggs all fluffed up not realising that without a cock not a lot is going to happen! She seems to have got over that now, hopefully she’ll get back to laying again soon. Fresh eggs are great for many things, apart from hard boiling as they are impossible to peel they need to be about 2 weeks old to peel easily which goes to show how old the eggs are in the shops, but I think I enjoy a fresh egg most when it’s simply poached.

10997690_10152781341257523_527038830138510624_o

My breakfast the other day, poached eggs sautéed cherry tomatoes (FTG) on homemade sourdough bread. I know some people have tricks for poaching eggs such as using a poaching pan to keep the shape, I prefer the free form look, or adding vinegar to the water, I think it contaminates the taste of the fresh egg. I just put a couple inches of water in a smallish frying pan and heat it up to almost a boil then break in two eggs and reduce the head and cover the pan. In the time it takes me to make my toast the eggs are perfectly done. I scoop them out with a slotted spoon, which I rest on a tea owl to absorb any excess water and then put them on my buttered toast. What could be easier?  The simple pleasures are often the best!

More on cooking eggs over on WOWJANE https://wowjane.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/please-please-me-in-the-morning/

Standard
Baking, Something sweet, Tarts

A sweet tart

tart

This is what I made as a dessert for a friend’s dinner party earlier this week. I offered to make dessert and wanted to make something different, try something new. I had been given some pecan nuts by a neighbour at Xmas so thought about what I could make with them and remembered a recipe in a book that my partner Tom gave me a few years ago. He swears he didn’t have any ill intentions when he gave me the book – some things get lost in translation in our house!

10421310_10152784099682523_7196902268899193739_n

Anyway I adapted their recipe, using their pastry recipe, with one I found on the BBC Good Food website here http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/75608/chocolate-and-pecan-tart

I made my pastry from scratch a sweet, rich shortcrust pastry with egg yolks and icing sugar. I  put extra chocolate in the filling as I had less pecans than the recipe called for (I only had 100 grams) and my tart tin is bigger than the one in the recipe (mine’s 25cms)  so I increased the chocolate to about 240 grams. Other than that I basically followed the BBC recipe for the filling. The maple syrup works really well in this tart as it’s not too sweet.

I decided to serve it with a strawberry compote, lightly stewed strawberries with a little sugar and lime juice, you could use fresh strawberries or raspberries but I liked the idea of having some juice. I also decided to try to make thickened cream. Here in Thailand we basically only get whipping cream and whipped cream would have been fine but I wanted to try something new and remembered reading about how to make mascarpone.

Basically you heat up whipping cream in a bowl over boiling water and just before it boils you add a couple of teaspoons of lemon / lime juice and it magically thickens. You let this cool then stain it through muslin / cheese cloth and the whey comes out leaving thickened cream, if you leave it for 24 hours you have mascarpone. I only left mine for about three hours (as that’s all the time I had after getting the idea) but it produced a thick cream that formed a slight peak when you spooned a dollop onto the plate. When heating the cream I added a little sugar and vanilla essence so this thickened cream / loose mascarpone went really well with the tart and strawberries. Everyone enjoyed it and I’m afraid that we were too busy eating to take photos of the plated up version so you’ll have to make it yourself to get the full effect. It’s worth the effort I assure you!

Standard
Something fruity, Something sweet

A trifling affair

IMG_2059

A trifle is a real crowd pleaser and is great for feeding the masses at a big gathering, I usually make them around Xmas / New Year, especially if you have a bucket sized trifle bowl like the one I bought recently. It really appeals to the senses and is a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach! No two trifles are the same, at least not when they are made at home! So what do you need…

  • Cake – sometimes I make a plain sponge from scratch, sometimes when I’m feeling lazing I buy butter cake, recently I used a banana cake I’d made, which turned out a lot better than I’d expected so feel free to do what works for you.
  • Fruit compote – I don’t use jelly in my trifle (it’s not veggie and it doesn’t seem grown up!) so I make a compote using some berries fresh mulberries and / or strawberries if they are in season here or shop bought frozen berries. I boil / stew these with a  little water and sugar (juice will come out of the fruit so you don’t need too much water).
  • Alcohol – again I vary this depending on what I have, and it doesn’t tend to be sherry that I have in stock! So Cassis, Cointreau, raspberry vodka, my own mulberry gin have all found their way into my trifles. I add the alcohol to the fruit compote once it’s cooled.
  • Fresh fruit – I use what I can find but favourites are strawberries, mangoes, banana and peaches if they are in season.
  • Custard – sometimes I make it from scratch with fresh egg yolks, sometimes I make it with custard powder. I’ve never used ready made custard as you can’t get it here in Thailand and it’s too sweet for me anyway. Whatever custard you use you need to make it quite thick and allow it to cool / set. Put clingfilm over the hot custard so a skin doesn’t form.
  • Whipped cream – plenty of cream whipped till it’s nice and thick.
  • Toppings / sprinkles – I usually go for roasted almond flakes but I know some people use grated dark chocolate too so whatever takes your fancy!

image

To assemble the trifle start with a layer of the alcohol laced fruit compote. Then a layer of cake (it shouldn’t be too thick about 2cms. Then fresh fruit, put some up against the sides of the bowl, they looks pretty. The some custard it doesn’t have to completely cover all the fruit again some up to the sides of the bowl looks good, then smooth over a layer of cream. Repeat this process (usually) two more times or as many layers as you can fit in your bowl. It’s best to put it in the fridge for a few hours so the juices soak through the sponge. Then before serving sprinkle on your toppings and enjoy!

My grown up trifles are inspired by a recipe in a lovely cookbook called “Tratine” given to me by my friends Aly & Frank in this recipe everything is made from scratch and it’s delicious.

IMG_2168

Standard
Salads

Cauliflower salad -spot the difference!

FullSizeRender

This is a good example of not being a slave to a recipe and being a bit creative in the kitchen, following your instincts and what you fancy eating and what ingredients you have to hand. These salads were made a year apart, both in January and both served in the same bowl!, when there is an abundance of flawlessly white caulis in our local market.

The first one on the left was made last year and it was the first cauliflower salad I made. I lightly cooked / blanched the florets of a large cauli which seems to make them whiter than white. I did the same with some green beans from the garden (FTG) and grilled some courgette slices on a griddle pan. I also fried some cashews to use as a garnish. So far both salads are the same. The difference was the dressing.

The first time I made this salad I had been given some delicious homemade pesto made by a friend’s mum and given to me by a neighbour so used this to make the dressing with some extra olive oil and lime juice. The second time I made the salad I went for a creamy Indian inspired dressing using mayonnaise, some curry powder, some dry roasted cumin seeds and some fried garlic. I also added sesame seeds , dry roasted in a pan, as a garnish along with the cashews. Both salads are essentially based on the same foundation but I experimented with the dressings. You might ask which was better? My answer would be both as they were both delicious, for me (and my friends). You might prefer one rather than the other but unless you experiment you won’t know…

Standard
Baking, The Basics

Our daily bread

Thanks to my friend Will who gave me some sourdough starter a couple of months ago. I’d read about making sourdough online and wanted to try to make it but somehow it seemed a bit tricky. Anyway I got started with the starter and made a few simple loaves with very little kneeding or effort, never weighing the ingredients just mixing flour, water and the magic starter until it felt right. I was mostly making them in a loaf tin so they were easy for toast etc. then this week I went for dinner at Will’s place and he’d made a beautiful free form loaf which inspired me to make the loaf above which is a mix of strong white and rye flours. It’s amazing how sourdough grows out of basically just flour and water! So simple yet so fulfilling to make. Don’t worry too much about the stater I use mine about once a week to bake a loaf and it always comes to life. And thanks to Will for the starter and for quietly inspiring me to make a better loaf. I hope this inspires you….

Standard
Snacks, Thai Food

Sun-dried mushrooms

mushrooms

At the moment there are beautiful, fresh oyster mushrooms at our local market in Mae Rim and the afternoon sun is scorching so I decide to take advantage of these two things and make some sun-dried mushrooms. They are a tasty snack to have with a drink, but last night we had them with rice and other dishes as part of out main meal. They were really yummy. My partner Tom said I should start selling them which I can’t be bothered to do so how did I make them? I took a medium-sized bag of oyster mushrooms and tore them into think shreds and then put them in the sun on a baking tray. I left them in the sun for about three hours turning them a couple of times until they were semi-dried and reduced in size (see photo above). If it’s not hot were you are you can do this in a low oven so no excuses not to try! Then I mixed them with some sliced small red onions, a couple of dried chillies, some kaffir lime leaves, some shredded lemon grass, some cashew nuts and sesame seeds and some light soy sauce and mushroom (veggie) oyster sauce. I then fried these in the wok with quite a bit of oil somewhere between shallow and deep frying for a few minutes until they became golden and crispy. Finally I drained off the excess oil and that’s it a tasty treat. So why don’t you give them a go and post your comments below.

Standard