Salads, Thai Food, Veggie sides

Spicy sweet corn salad

This isn’t a traditional Thai salad / ‘yum’ but an adaptation that works well to make fresh and crunchy salad.

I steamed a couple of locally grown organic cobs of corn with their skins on for about 10 mins. They weren’t that big, one large corn would probably be equivalent. I then allowed them to cool and in a dry pan roasted a large handful of peanuts until they started to brown, I put these in a mixing bowl and the roasted a couple of tablespoons of sesame seeds and added them to the bowl. I chopped up a few small shallots and about a dozen cherry tomatoes and added them.. Next I peeled the corn and sliced the kernels off and added them to the bowl. I added the juice of two small limes and finely sliced a couple of bird’s eye chillis, two finely sliced young tender lemongrass stalks and a handful of chopped coriander leaves and added them along with a tablespoon or so of light soy sauce. I mixed everything together and tasted the salad to check there was a balance between the salty, spicy, sweet and  sour flavours. I served this as part of a Tai meal with other dishes however if you want to make a meal of it then mix in an equal quantity of cooked brown rice. I did this the following day with the leftovers for my lunch and it was really good too.



Thai Food, The Basics, Veggie sides

Stir-fried mixed veg with cashew nuts



I used to eat this a lot when I first came to Thailand and in many restaurants when you ask what vegetarian food they have they say stir-fried mixed veg. served with plain rice, which I got bored of pretty quickly. However, a friend introduced me to a place that did a really good version using a more interesting variety of vegetables and the addition of cashew nuts which makes all the difference to me and somehow turns what might just be a side dish into an acceptable main dish. I don’t eat it as often these days but I do still sometimes order it in restaurants and occasionally make it at home if I have a nice selection of veggies. This version is a recreation of the dish I used to have over 25 years ago. They varied their veggies a bit but the selection was something like this with sugar snap / mange tout peas, asparagus, mushrooms and the more common, carrot, onion and tomatoes. You can use whatever you have, cauliflower or broccoli are good as are other greens such as pak choi.

Key tips

  1. Have a good variety of different vegetables and balance the quantities so that one single item doesn’t dominate the dish.
  2. Prepare the veg. in advance so that you can cook it quickly.
  3. Sequence the cooking so that the veg that take longer go in first and the quicker cooking items later.
  4. Fry the cashews first and add them back in at the end.
  5. Don’t overcook the veg it’s nice to have some crunch in the dish.

I prepared all my veg. a peeled and sliced (red) onion, 3 cloves of roughly crushed garlic, about a cupful of mushrooms, half a carrot (peeled and sliced), about a cupful of sugar snap peas, about a cupful of asparagus, a handful of cherry tomatoes (halved) or a roughy chopped large tomato.

First I heated about 3 tablespoons of (coconut) oil in my wok and fried the cashew nuts until golden brown and then I strained them of oil and put them to one side. I the same oil I fried the onion of a minute or so the I added the mushrooms and garlic and fried for about a minute, then I added the carrot and fried for a short while. Next I added about a  tablespoon or so of light (mushroom) soy sauce and then threw in the sugar snap peas and the asparagus. I added a splash of water at this point this will help steam the veg a little and help bring out the colours. I carried on frying as the water evaporated. Finally I added a couple of tablespoons of mushroom ‘oyster’ sauce and some (white) pepper and put the cashews back in. I made sure everything was coated in the sauce, you may need to add a dash more water. You can also taste it and add more soy sauce if necessary, remember if you are serving it with plain rice then the dish will need to have a good flavor. It can be served with other Thai dishes such as a curry, or served with a Thai omelette.

Veggie mains

Vegetable stew with lentils and barley


There’s something comforting about a pot of stew. When I was young my mum often made a lamb stew with barley in it. This is a meat free Monday version.

I think you need to be flexible when you make stew using the vegetables you find in season at the market. Today I found a nice cauliflower, some lovely asparagus, and sugar snap peas that I wanted to incorporate into my stew along with some other year round veggies.

I started by preparing all my veg and putting all the trimmings in  a pot with boiling water, some salt and peppercorns and some herbs, bay leaves, dill and rosemary to make a stock. While the stock was simmering I fried a chopped onion in some olive oil, to this I added a few crushed cloves of garlic and some celery and fried it until it began to soften. Then I added a bowlful of chopped mushrooms. Then I added a chopped carrot, a handful of pear barley and two handfuls of brown lentils a couple of bay leaves, some rosemary and a teaspoon or Marmite. I poured in some of the stock and a glass of white wine (optional) ensuring that everything was well covered in liquid and put the lid on and simmered it for about 20 minutes. I added some more stock along with the cauliflower, cut into florets, and the asparagus stems. I cooked this for another 10 minutes or so before adding the sugar snap peas, the asparagus tips, some dill and freshly ground pepper and cooked it for another 10 minutes.

I served it with some mashed potatoes like my mum used to.


Something fruity, Something sweet

Mango mousse with passion fruit coulis

I love the combination of mangoes and passion fruit and they are both in season here at the moment. This is a lovely light mousse. The tartness of the passion fruit really makes it. This recipe will make 12 – 14 servings so cut the quanties in half if you want less.

I started by peeling 4 ripe mangoes, weighing about 1.2kgs, and I put the flesh in a food processor and blended it until it was smooth. I added 4 tbsp. icing sugar and 4 tbsp. Cointreau and blended them together and put it in the fridge. Then I beat 600ml of whipping cream until it was thick and made peaks. I then folded the mango pulp into the cream until it was all mixed together well. Next I spooned the mousse into 14 glasses. I tapped them on the work surface to get the mousse to settle. I cleaned up and drips from the edge of the classes with some kitchen paper and then covered the glasses with cling film and put them in the fridge. You should leave the mouse in the fridge for a couple of hours, at least.

Next I made the  the coulis. I scraped the pulp out of 12 juicy passion fruits and added 60g sugar and brought this to the boil then simmered it for about 10 minutes to reduce the liquid by almost half then I allowed it to cool.

To serve I spooned about a tablespoon or so of the coulis over each glass of mousse to cover the mousse completely and served with white chocolate and macadamia cookies.

Baking, Something sweet

White chocolate and macadamia cookies


These are a real treat. I haven’t made them for a while and now I have I’m thinking they might be my favourite cookies! They are similar to the ginger, macadamia and coconut cookies I made recently but richer, and not as healthy! this will make about 20 cookies.

So what do you need?

  • 130g soft (unsalted)
  • 130g soft brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 300g plain (all purpose) flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 150g chopped macadamia nuts
  • 150g good quality, chunky white chocolate chips

So what do you do?

Start by pre-heating your oven to 175 degrees C / 350 F. Then cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl or a mixer. When they are soft and fluffy add the vanilla essence and the egg and mix them in well. Next add the slat, flour and baking powder and mix this in to form a dough. Finally add the macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips and mix these in.

On lined baking sheets put tablespoons of the mixture with some space between them, you can flatten them down a little if you like. Then put them in the oven and back for 15-20 minutes until they start to go golden brown. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for a few minutes before putting them on a wire rack to cool completely.


Baking, Brunch, Snacks, Something sweet


I’ve never made crumpets in the UK as they’re readily available in the shops but here in Chiang Mai I’ve never seen them for sale so the only option is to make them yourself. They’re great for breakfast or as a tea time treat. If you want to have them first thing in the morning then make the yeast batter the night before and put it in the fridge and just add the bicarbonate of soda in the morning. This recipe is based on Paul Hollywood’s and makes a baker’s dozen.

So what do you need?

  • 150g strong (bread) flour
  • 150g plain (all purpose) flour
  • 2tsp quick acting yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 150ml hot water
  • 150ml milk
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1tsp salt
  • 125ml warm water

So what do you do?

Put the flour, yeast, and sugar in a bowl or a mixer. Mix the milk and hot water together in a measuring jug and put it in to the bowl. Mix everything together for about 3 -4 minutes. This will help make a good batter. Then cover with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour. Then mix the bicarbonate of soda and salt into 125mls of warm water and add this to the batter and mix it in. Leave the batter for 15-20 mins and it should be quite frothy / bubbly.

Oil a thick bottomed frying pan or a flat griddle and heat it up on a low is heat. Then put 4 greased crumpet / egg rings on it and  laden some batter in each of the rings. Don’t make them too thick or the won’t cook through about 1.5cms of batter should be enough as they will bubble up a bit while cooking. You need to cook them quite slowly so that they cook through without burning on the bottom. They will bubble and slowly cook through. When they are dried out run a knife round the rings to remove the crumpets and flip them over to cook on the other side. Note if you make them too thick and the tops haven’t dried out during the first stage of cooking the holes will be sealed up by the wet batter when you turn them over, if this happens you can split them when you serve them as they will still have holes in the middle. It takes a bit of experimentation to get the thickness and heat right, whatever I’m sure they will be delicious. Serve hot with plenty of butter and honey or jam. They are also good with butter and marmite, and toasted with cheese, if you prefer something savoury.


Baking, Snacks, Veggie mains

Curried veggie pasties


These are an adaptation of my cheesy veggie pasties and are a samosa / pasty hybrid.

Follow the cheesy veggie pasties recipe but add a teaspoon of curry powder and 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds to the pastry. For the filling add a couple of tablespoons of plain yoghurt, 2 tsp of curry powder, 1/2 tsp chilli powder, a tsp of toasted cumin seeds, and a handful of chopped coriander leaves (you can also swap the cheddar for a tub of cottage cheese and the butter beans for chickpeas or lentils if you like). Follow the instructions for the cheesy pasties. These go really well with mango chutney.