Thai Food, Veggie mains

Pad Thai

pad thai

I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to get round to posting a recipe for Pad Thai, maybe as more often than not it’s a dish I eat at our local noodle shop and enjoy their version. There are probably as many versions of Pad Thai as people who make it, but I find many too sweet or too oily so making it at home allows you to control the flavours. If you don’t live in Thailand, surrounded by Pad Thai options, then it’s easy enough to make at home. This will make 2 servings which is about as much as you can make at a time in a domestic wok.

So what do you need?

  • 100g firm tofu
  • 120g flat rice noodles (I used brown ones)
  • 200g bean sprouts
  • a small bunch of garlic chives / spring onions
  • 4tbs vegetable oil
  • a handful of roasted peanuts
  • 3 tbsp. dried pickled Chinese radish
  • 3 tbsp. tamarind paste
  • 3 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. palm sugar
  • 1 tsp. chilli powder
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 1 lime

So what do you do?

Start by soaking your rice noodles in water, brown ones will take about 20 minutes, white ones about 10 minutes. Then cut the tofu into small pieces and marinate with a tbsp. light soy sauce. If using unroasted peanuts then dry roast them in a wok for a few minutes, stirring, until they are golden brown and put them in a mortar ready to crush.

Next make the Pad Thai sauce, in a small pan warm together the tamarind paste, palm sugar and 2 tbsp. of soy sauce with a splash of water, the amount of water will depend on how thick your tamarind paste is. This should make a runny sauce that is sour with a hint of sweetness and saltiness. Then rinse and strain the beansprouts and garlic chives, reserve a handful of beansprouts and a few of the chives to use as a garnish. Cut the remaining chives into 4cms lengths. Crush the peanuts once they have cooled.

Next put the oil in the wok and fry the tofu until golden brown and pour out most of the remaining oil into a dish. Then add most of the tamarind sauce and fry the tofu in it for about 30 second. Drain the noodles and add them to the wok and stir fry them for a minute or two then add the Chinese radish, most of the crushed peanuts, the chili powder and the bean sprouts and chopped garlic chives. Fry until the bean sprouts soften and if it seems dry add the remaining tamarind sauce. Then push the noodles to the edge of the wok and add the reserved oil into the wok and crack in the eggs and break them up with the spatula and fry them when they are almost done mix the noodles back in and fry everything together.

Divide into two portions on plates and garnish with the remaining garlic chives, bean sprouts, peanuts, a wedge of lime and a sprinkle of chilli powder (optional).

 

 

 

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Veggie mains

Pasta & broccoli

 

pasta

This is a ‘copy’ of a recipe by Rachel Roddy in the Guardian that I’ve been meaning to make for a while. It’s really simple and delicious.

The broccoli is cooked twice ‘ripassati’. For two large portions start by boiling about 500g of broccoli in well salted water. I used baby broccoli and added the chopped stems to the pan a couple of minutes before the heads and cooked for another 5 minutes. Meanwhile I heated about 4 tbsp. of olive oil in a heavy pan and started to fry a couple of cloves of garlic. I then used a slotted spoon and transferred the cooked broccoli into the pan with some of the cooking water and added about a tsp. of peperoncino seasoning, herbs and chilli, you can just add 1/2 tsp of dried chill flakes. I stirred this around and then covered it and let it continue to cook. . I brought the water I’d cooked the broccoli in back to the boil and added about 250g of rigatoni pasta. I cooked the pasta and kept the broccoli cooking stirring occasionally and adding a couple of tbsp. of pasta water if necessary. The broccoli needs to cook down until it’s really soft. Once the pasta was cooked I drained it and added it to the broccoli and mixed everything together well and added 100g cottage cheese, you could use ricotta, I then served the pasta with some parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of the peperoncino chills and herbs.

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Snacks, Veggie mains

Arancini / risotto patties


This is a great way to use up any leftover risotto (there are several risotto recipes on the blog already). Just roll the cold, sticky risotto rice into balls or patties and coat in flour or breadcrumbs and shallow fry in oil until crisp and golden. You can put a small piece of mozzarella or blue cheese in the middle of the balls if you like. Serve on a bed of green leaves. Here I also added some homomade tomato sauce too. Enjoy!

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Baking, Something sweet

Double choc biscuits 


These are really easy and delicious if you like chocolate. This will make about 15 biscuits or 8 larger cookies.

So what do you need?

  • 100g butter
  • 50g soft brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla essence
  • 100g plain (all purpose flour)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. cocao powder
  • 50g chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp. plain yoghurt or milk

So what do you do?

Start by pre- heating your oven to 175 degrees C / 350 F. Then cream together the butter and sugar and mix in the vanilla essence. Next add in the the flour, baking powder, cocao powder and choc chips and mix them in. Then add just enough plain yoghurt or milk to bring the mixture together into a dough.

On a lined baking sheet put dessert spoons balls of the mixture leaving some space between them and then press them down with the back of a fork. Put them in the oven and bake for 15 minutes until the begin to crisper at the edges. Allow to cool for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Baking, Snacks, The Basics

Oatcakes 

If you live somewhere that they are readily available in the shops then you probably  wouldn’t bother making them but if you don’t and you get a craving for them they’re not ask to make and you can make them smaller than shop bought ones for a more delicate biscuit to go with cheese after dinner. They’re also very economical to make. This recipe makes about 40 biscuits.

So what do you need?

  • 250g porridge oats
  • 50g whole meal flour
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds (optional)

So what do you do?

First preheat your oven to about 190 degrees C / 375F. If you have a baking stone then put it in the oven to heat up. Then put the oats in a food processor and grind them until they become like a rough flour still with about a third still in oat pieces. Then heat about 80ml of water and add a tsp. of sea salt and the butter until it melts. Mix the flour in with the oats and then pour in the water and butter. Mix everything together with a spoon until it comes together  in a ball. If necessary add a little more hot water to bring everything together. Put the mixture on a floured work surface and roll it out until it’s as thin as you want the oatcakes I made mine slightly thinner than shop bought ones. The with a cookie cutter of your desired size, I used one 4cms and one 5 cms in diameter. Cut out the oatcakes and the reroll any extra mixture and repeat. Then put the oatcakes on a baking stine or baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes and then turn them over for about 10 minutes on the other side so they dry out completely. Then put them on wire racks to cool. Enjoy with your favourite cheese!

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Snacks, Thai Food

Fried tofu with Thai herbs & cashew nuts

This makes a really tasty and attractive snack, starter or part of a bigger Thai meal.

Start by preparing your Thai herbs and spices. I finely sliced the more tender insides of four or five lemongrass stems lengthways, julienned a large red chilli, sliced about four red shallots, 3 cloves of garlic and tore a few kaffir lime leaves.

In a wok with about half a cup of hot oil I started by frying the lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves, as they take a little longer, after about a minute I added the shallots and fried for another minute then added chilli, garlic, a couple of bunches of fresh green peppercorns and a couple of handfuls of cashew nuts and fried everything until it was golden and crisp and then drained them. You can use large dried chillis instead, of the fresh one, which will go crisp and can be crumbled on the risotto for an extra kick of spiciness (these don’t take long to cook so add them near the end of the frying process.)

Next I cube a couple of blocks of form tofu (about 500g). I then fried this in the same oil, turning occasionally) until crisp and golden brown (you may need to fry the tofu in two batches). I then drained the tofu and put it on a serving plate and scattered the herbs and nuts over the top. I served with a chilli dipping sauce with some extra dried chilli (optional) and coriander leaves in it.

 

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Salads, Something fruity

Crunchy apple, pecan & blue cheese salad

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This salad has a great crunchy textures and a delicious mix of flavours.

I started by tossing about 100 g of pecan nuts in a tsp. of maple syrup with a pinch of salt which I then toasted in a hot oven for a few minutes turning a couple of times until they just started to brown (you could do this under a grill too). Next I sliced a  courgette and grilled it on a griddle pan with a little olive oil. Then I sliced a couple of smallish heads of fennel and two small red shallots. Then washed a bunch (about 50g) of rocket and cored and sliced two apples and put them in a bowl of water with a good squeeze of lemon juice. Then I made a dressing with about a tbsp. of olive oil, a tbsp. of maple syrup a pinch of sea salt, a squeeze of lemon, a tsp. of Dijon mustard and a splash of water which I mixed together. I assembled the salad scattering the rocket first and then adding the other fruit and veg. I then crumbled 110g of blue cheers on top (feta would work well too) and the sprinkled over the pecans and a little chopped parsley and then drizzled over the dressing. I served it with some small cubed roast potatoes, it would also be great with a fresh crusty loaf.

 

 

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