Thai Food

Kale & cashew fried rice

I made this for lunch out of leftovers and things I had in my kitchen. It’s a very simple fried rice but the toppings of crispy kale leave, fried shallots, cashew nuts and chilli really add to the textures and flavours. Fried rice is best made with leftover rice that’s been kept in the fridge overnight, it should not be at all sticky. I used a mix of brown and red rice which tends to retain it’s shape better when cooked than white rice. The recipe below is for 2 portions.

I started by preparing the toppings. I washed a small bunch of Thai / Chinese kale (Pak kana) and took about half of the leaves off and shredded them finely and patted them dry in a tea towel. Then I peeled and finely slice 4 small shallots. I heated about a cm of vegetable oil in the bottom of my wok and then fried a couple of dried chillis until they puffed up and then put them on plate. Next I fried the shredded kale, stirring occasionally, until it started to become crispy. I drained this and put it on a plate and then did the same with the shallots. Finally I fried a handful of cashew nuts until they were golden.

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Next I cut the stalks of the kale into small pieces and fried this with 4 chopped cloves of garlic as the garlic started to brown and the kale softened I added a tsp. of cumin seeds and fried a little. Then I added about 3 cups of rice and the remaining kale leaves, chopped up. I stir-fried this and added some light soy sauce, probably about a tbsp. and some white pepper. I fried the rice for a couple of minutes until the kale was cooked. I added in most of the cashews and then divided the rice onto two plates and sprinkled over the toppings and served with a slice of lime. If you like a spicy hit then tear the chilli into small pieces and mix in with the rice as you eat.

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Veggie mains

Avocado pasta

This makes a great lunch or light meal and is perfect if you’re not sure whether you want a salad or a hot pasta dish. It’s fresh but creamy and very quick and easy to make. It will be ready in the time it takes to cook the pasta. This will serve 2.

So what do you need?

  • 200 – 250 g pasta
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small / 1/2 a large onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 / 3 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • a squeeze of lemon / lime juice
  • a sprig of basil leaves
  • some chilli oil (optional) or some ground black pepper

So what do you do?

First put the pasta on to cook. The chop the onion and start to fry it gently in the olive oil, chop up the garlic and add it. Chop up the tomatoes and them once the onion starts to soften. You don’t want to cook the tomatoes too much just heat them up really. When the pasta is nearly done cut open one of the avocados and mush it in it’s shell. Pour some of the pasta water into the pan with the veggies, probably about 1/2 a cup, turn off the heat and mix in the mushed avocado, a squeeze of lemon juice and a few torn up basil leaves. Stir this to make a sauce. Then drain the pasta and add it to the pan and add the second avocado chopped into chunks. Stir together and serve with a drizzle of chilli oil and garnish with some basil leaves.

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The Basics, Veggie mains

Courgette, cashew & blue cheese pesto

Pesto

I love pesto but it’s not always easy to find Italian Basil here in Chiang Mai. The bugs have eaten my basil plants, but today I found fresh basil in the market so changed my dinner plans to pesto. I decided to mix things up a bit with the pesto adding courgette and blue cheese. Feel free to stick to parmesan if you prefer in the pesto. I served it with whole wheat past and fried mushrooms. The whole meal takes about 20 minutes. This will make enough pesto for 4 servings.

So what do you need?

  • 1 good handful of cashew nuts
  • 2 medium-sized courgettes
  • a large bunch of basil
  • 4 cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • 6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • zest and juice of half a small lime
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • a good grinding of black pepper
  • 50g blue cheese

First, bring a pan of water to boil for the pasta. Then dry fry the cashews in a frying pan until they just begin to change colour and put them in a blender. Put about 2 tbsp. olive oil in the frying pan and add the courgettes, chopped into pieces, and the garlic. fry until the courgette softens but before it browns and add this to the blender. I then put my pasta on and fried the mushrooms in the same frying pan.

Next grate the lime zest into the blender and squeeze in the juice and add the blue cheese, salt and pepper. Pluck the basil leaves off the stalks, about three large handfuls of leaves and add to the blender. When the pasta is almost done blend the pesto, I like to keep some of the texture of the nuts. Then add about 1/2 cup of pasta water to the pesto and blend this in. Drain the pasta and add the pesto. Stir so the pasta is well covered with the pesto and serve with the mushrooms and a grating of parmesan.

 

 

 

 

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Something fruity, Something sweet

Rum raisin ice cream

Rum

This is delicious and super easy to make with only four ingredients. There’s no churning needed and it makes a creamy, soft-scoop ice cream. It’s based on Nigela Lawson’s no-churn ice cream recipes. It’s certainly not very healthy, but makes a nice treat.

Start by soaking 150g raisin in 150ml of spiced rum for a couple hours. Then put a can of condensed milk (about 380g) and 600ml of whipping cream in a large bowl or a stand mixer and whip them together until they become fluffy and begin to stiffen. This makes the ice cream light which means it does not need churning as it freezes. Then gently fold in the raisins and rum and put in an airtight container and freeze. The rum will prevent the ice cream freezing too hard so it can be scooped straight from the freezer. Enjoy!

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Snacks

Beetroot & bean spread

Beet spread

This is a yummy, vibrant spread / dip that’s quick to make. It’s has an earthy flavor and is nice and healthy.

Start by dry roasting 1 tsp. cumin seeds in a frying pan, then put them aside.  Chop a small onion and a stalk of celery and fry them in a couple of tbsp. olive oil, as they begin cooking add 3-4 clove of garlic. While they are all softening peel and grate a large beetroot (about 350 – 400g) then grate it coarsely. Add the beetroot to the frying pan and 1/2 tsp. salt. Fry for a couple of minutes until the beetroot begins to soften.

Meanwhile strain and rinse a can of beans (red kidney or mixed beans). Then add 1 tsp. of balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika and half the cumin seeds to the veggies and turn off the heat.  Put the veggies and the beans in a food processor and blend until it becomes a smooth paste. Scoop out into a bowl and allow to coo. To serve drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining cumin seeds and a little smoked paprika.

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Baking, Brunch, The Basics

Granola

Granola

I’m trying to eat more fruit and healthier breakfasts so have started making batches of granola to eat with fresh fruit and homemade yoghurt in the mornings. Granola isn’t as healthy as muesli as it has some oil and sweetener in it but I do like the crunch and if you make your own you can control how sweet it is and add whatever healthy extras you like.

I start by preheating the oven to about 175 degrees C or 350F. Then I put 500g rolled oats and 200g – 250g of mixed nuts and seeds into a large roasting tin, here I used cashews, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds. I start these off first in the oven and bake them for about 10 minutes. Then to this I add about 50ml of coconut oil, 120ml of honey (if you want a sweeter version add some a bit more honey) a pinch of salt and a few grating of nutmeg (you can use cinnamon if you prefer) and mix everything together and put it back in the oven. After about 10 mins. I take it out and stir it and add about 150g of dried fruit, here I used dried mango and sultanas. I put it back for about 10 minutes checking and stirring it after 5 mins. The oats should be golden brown. Take it out of the oven and allow to cool and then store in an airtight container.

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Veggie mains

Spaghetti with cabbage, garlic, chilli and breadcrumbs

spaghetti

This is a quick and easy pasta dish that makes a tasty supper or quick lunch. It’s pretty healthy, especially if you use whole wheat pasta, and it’s basically vegan, but if you like you can add some butter. This recipe is for two portions.

So what do you need?

  • 250g (whole wheat) spaghetti
  • 250 – 300g finely sliced cabbage
  • 5-8 cloves of garlic
  • 1.-2 dried chillies
  • salt
  • 1 slice of whole meal bread
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • a squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
  • a knob of butter (optional)

So what do you do?

Start by heating a saucepan of salted water to cook the pasta in. While this is coming to the boil, crumble the slice of bread into breadcrumbs and crush a clove of garlic and add it with a pinch of salt to the breadcrumbs. Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a frying pan and fry the breadcrumbs gently until golden brown and crisp and put them to one side in a bowl.

Once the pasta water boils cook the pasta and over the boiling pasta steam the cabbage for a few minutes in a sieve. Slice the rest of the garlic and fry it in the remaining olive oil until it starts to turn light brown and then add the chopped chillies. The cabbage should have started to soften by now and you can add it to the frying pan along with a pinch of salt. Sauté the cabbage while the pasta continues to cook you can add a little of the pasta water to help soften the cabbage. Once the past is cooked drain it and add it to the cabbage fry for about a minute so the pasta absorbs the flavours of the oil. At this stage you can add the butter and lemon juice if using them. Divide into two bowls and sprinkle over the breadcrumbs.

 

 

 

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