Thai Food, Veggie mains

Broccolini & tofu with sesame and mushroom sauce


This dish is a meal in itself, served with some steamed brown rice. It’s similar to the sesame crusted tofu with charred broccoli I made a while ago but with a sauce.

I started by draining a large block of tofu which I cut into cubes and patted dry with a tea towel. Then I put it in a bowl and marinated it in about a tablespoon of light soy sauce. I then heated about 3 0r 4 tbsp. of sesame oil in a frying pan. I fried a handful of cashew nuts and then drained them and put them to one side. I sprinkled about a tablespoon of white sesame seeds on the tofu and then fried it until golden brown. I put the tofu on a tray in a warm oven. Next I strained any remaining sesame seeds from the oil and chopped up and medium onion and fried it in the oil. I added about 3 or 4 sliced cloves of garlic and grated in a similar quantity of fresh ginger. I fried this for a minute or so and then added about 250g mushrooms and a small bunch of Chinese celery. Meanwhile I steamed about 400g broccolini / Hong Kong kale. Once the mushrooms looked cooked I added a tbsp. of light soy sauce, a little dark soy sauce, some ground black pepper and the remaining sesame seeds from the tofu and a tsp. of black sesame seeds. Then I added a couple of tablespoons of mushroom (oyster) sauce and some hot water to make a gravy like sauce and cooked this down a little. I placed the broccolini on a serving plate poured over the sauce, sprinkled on the cashew nuts and arranged the tofu around the side.


Salads, Thai Food

Yam woonsen 

This is a great Thai salad that can be served as part of a Thai meal or eaten on it’s own for lunch.

If you are using dried vermicelli / glass noodles then start by soaking an 80-100g packet. Quickly fry a handful of cashew nuts until golden, drain and leave to one side. I used about 150g of fresh glass noodles, cut into manageable lengths. Meanwhile steam / blanch about 100g mushrooms (if you use large mushrooms slice them) here I also added a few chopped beans to the steamer once the mushrooms were nearly ready. Chop up a couple of small shallots / spring onions and put them in a mixing bowl. Next grate about a quarter of a carrot into the bowl, a chopped tomato, a small bunch of Chinese celery and some coriander leaves. Roughly crush 3-5 birds eye chillies with the back of a knife and add these, add the juice of a smallish lime and a tablespoon of light soy sauce. Add in the noodles and the steamed mushrooms and beans, a splash of water and about a 1/4 tsp. sugar (optional) and mix everything together. Taste and add more soy sauce, lime or chillies to balance the flavours. Add most of the cashew nuts and mix in. Make sure the yam is not too dry, if necessary add a little more water, the noodles can sometimes keep absorbing liquid. Serve on a bed of leaves, here I used the celery leaves, you can also use some lettuce. Sprinkle over the remaining cashews and garnish with some coriander leaves.

Baking, Brunch, Something fruity

Cinnamon roll loaf


This makes a delicious treat for breakfast or brunch. You can make it the night before and let it rise overnight in the fridge so all you need to do in the morning is pop it in the oven.

So what do you need?

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 250ml milk
  • 1 free-range egg (beaten)
  • 450 g strong plain (bread) flour
  • 2 tsp. quick action yeast
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 150 g sultanas / raisins
  • 1/4 cup of strong
  • 2 tsp (freshly ground) cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. honey

So what do you do?

First put the sultans / raisins in a bowl with the tea and leave them to plump up. Next in a small saucepan gently warm the milk and the butter until the butter starts to melt then turn off the heat. Meanwhile put the flour. yeast, salt and 1 tbsp. of the sugar in a mixing bowl add the egg and then pour in the milk and butter which should be warm but not too hot. Mix everything together and then knead for about 10 minutes either in a food mixer or on a floured work surface. Then leave the dough in a covered bowl to rise for about 45 mins. or so until it doubles in size.

Grease your loaf tin with some butter. Then drain any excess liquid from the dried fruit and grind your cinnamon and the cinnamon and the remaining sugar to the fruit and mix together. Next knock back the dough and put it on a floured work surface.  Shape it out into an oblong shape a couple of centimeters thick about the width of your loaf tin or slightly narrower. Then sprinkle the fruit mixture over the dough evenly leaving a couple of centimeters clear around the edge. Then roll up the dough. Roll it into the centre of a piece of baking parchment as wide as the length of your loaf tin and long enough to go up the sides of the tin and leave a bit of paper so that you can easily lift the loaf out of the tin when it’s cooked. Then lift the loaf into your loaf tin. I then cover the loaf tin with a loose plastic bag and put it in the fridge to rise overnight. You can obviously allow it to rise outside and then bake it. Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C / 400 F then ‘paint’ the top of the loaf with some milk and put it in the oven. Cook for about 45 mins. check after 30 mins and if it’s browning too quickly on top turn your oven down slightly or place a piece of tin foil on top of the loaf. Once it’s cooked lift it out of the loaf tin and allow to cool on a wire rack. Glaze the loaf with some honey and eat while warm with a cup of tea.


Thai Food, Veggie mains

Shitake & sesame baked glass noodles ‘op woonsen’


This is a veggie take on the classic Thai dish ‘op woonesn’ which is usually made with prawns and is a favourite at the seaside. The non-veggie version also includes pork rind / fat to give it flavour. I find sesame oil is a good alternative as it adds a good flavour to the dish.

Start by crushing 4 gloves of garlic, 2 or 3 coriander roots (or a tsp. of coriander seeds) and a couple of tsp. of fresh peppercorns (or a tsp. of dry peppercorns). Then heat 3 tsp of sesame oil in a wok and add the garlic mix and fry until the garlic begins to cook then add 100g oyster mushrooms. I use fresh ones and score a cross in the top to help them cook. You can used dried ones and soak them beforehand. Add a tbsp. of light soy sauce half a tsp. of dark soy sauce, and a couple of tbsp. of mushroom (oyster) sauce, and a couple of tsp. of sesame seeds (I use a mix of black and white) and fry for a minute or so. Next add some water (if you’ve soaked dry shitake mushrooms use the soaking water) to create a sauce and turn off the heat. Add a small bunch / handful of chopped Chinese celery. You can also add a handful or two of cooked chestnuts at this stage, or some fried cubed tofu, if you want.

In a thick bottomed container / saucepan (that has a lid) place about 10 thin discs of sliced of ginger. Cover this is about 200g of fresh glass noodles (or around 100 g of dry glass noodles that have been soaked) cut into manageable lengths. Put the mushroom mix on top and rinse any extra sauce out of the wok with 3 or 4 tbsp. of water and pour this over. Then put the lid on and cook over a low – medium heat for about 15 minutes. You want the noodles and mushrooms to steam for most of the time and just slightly brown at the end. Be careful not to overcook once the liquid has absorbed as you don’t want the noodles to burn. You can take it off the heat and let it stand while you cook any other quick stir fried dishes. A great aroma is released when you take the lid off the pot so do this at the table so everyone enjoys it. You can garnish the dish with some fresh coriander leaves if you like.