Thursday, 24 February 2011

Ohn-no khao swè AKA Burmese coconut noodles from Meemalee's Kitchen

I've been meaning to make these Burmese noodles for ages now, ever since seeing it on MiMi's excellent Meemalee's Kitchen blog last year. The full recipe can be found here but as ever I adapted things a bit.
Instead of chicken I used ready-prepared deep fried tofu, and added some chilli flakes to the ginger/onion/garlic paste it's cooked with. And due to laziness I bought some chilli oil and used prawn crackers for the garnish (rather than deep fried rice stick noodles as MiMi instructs). I also forgot to add the thinly sliced shallots and lime before eating, but this can be entirely attributed to rushing to scoff my lovely smelling bowl of food. I hope MiMi forgives these dips in authenticity, but even so this was a totally delicious dish.
The noodles in their coconut broth were rich but not heavy, and the tofu provided a good contrast in texture. It was all lightly spiced but very flavourful, despite missing the garnishes which I suspect would have provided a touch of freshness too. This was also a really simple and straightforward meal to prepare and could easily be an after-work dinner.
I heartily recommend it, and will definitely be making it again- this time with full garnish compliance!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Hairy Bikers keralan king prawn crisps

Image taken from the Hairy Bikers website.

I've realised I've not done a product post for a while so here's one on one of my favourite type of food- snacks! And of all the snacks of the world the fried potato crisp is certainly one (if not the) best. These days I tend to go for a plain salted crisp, but am open to innovations in crisp flavours. And some innovation has been delivered in the form of these crisps from the Hairy Bikers.
I have a bit of a soft spot for the Hairy Bikers a.k.a. Si and Dave- I've really enjoyed their travel and cooking programmes which covered parts of South America, India, and South East Asia. They were intelligent, informative, non-patronising and genuinely entertaining. I'm not quite so sure about their UK show where they seem to do a lot of acting 'craaaazy' in a mildly irritating way, but still they seem like nice chaps. They have now launched a range of cookware that is so subtly branded I didn't actually realise it had anything to do with them when I saw it in John Lewis, and also (a little randomly) a range of crisps. The crisps are currently only available from Waitrose and come in a range of flavours which reflect some of their travels. I picked up a packet of the keralan king prawn with coconut a few months ago and then had a follow up bag more recently, and I think I quite like them! It's initially a little strange tasting coconut when eating a crisp, but it in the context of some mild spices and a hint of prawn it sort of works. Despite the description on the packaging I didn't find these crisps particulalrly hot, but for a crisp they did manage to capture the taste of an Indian prawn curry pretty well. And overall I would say that they are a welcome addition to the crisp world!

NB Unlike many meat or fish flavoured crisps these are not suitable for vegetarians.

Hairy Bikers Keralan King Prawn Crisps
I rate them 7.5/10
Cost: £1.79 per 150g bag (currently only available in Waitrose)

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Lorraine Pascale's Oreo fudge brownies

I made these brownies the other week, and have to say they are best chocolate brownies I've ever had. They incorporate bits of broken up Oreo cookie, and are somehow not too sweet but just very chocolatey and fudgey with the ocassional bit of crunch. I'd not heard of Lorraine Pascale before she popped up on television a few weeks ago, but am really liking her show. And on the basis of this recipe alone she is well on the way to baking genius status.
The recipe for these brownies can be found on Lorraine's BBC pages , and I followed it exactly apart from using half milk and half extra dark chocolate rather than all dark (this was due to a shopping error but didn't seem to make too much difference). The recipe was really straight-forward, and the hardest part involved not eating the mixture directly out of the bowl before cooking it.
Highly recommended for any brownie fan!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Lobster noodles (my version)

Lobster, like salmon, seems to have become one of those foods that I originally remember as a rare treat but has now become quite common place. Cooked and frozen Canadian lobster has turned up in a couple of my local supermarkets quite regularly at a very affordable price of around £6 each. It's certainly not going to compare to something freshly caught and cooked but is perfectly acceptable, especially when combined with some strong flavours.
So the onset of Chinese New Year seemed a good time to break out a couple of these frozen morsels and use them to make lobster noodles- something that I'd come across via the blogosphere. I was inspired by this recipe from Rasa Malaysia but adapted it somewhat to suit my ready cooked lobster. So I stir-fried the roughly chopped white parts from half a dozen spring onions, with four fat cloves of crushed garlic, around a teaspoon of chilli flakes, and a thick half inch piece of ginger squished to a paste (I guess a generous tablespoon in total). After a couple of minutes the cooked lobster (an indulgent one crustacean per person), which had been halved and cut into sections went in. This was all vigorously mixed together over a high heat, and when the lobster was heated through I added in the green part of the spring onions, some cooked egg noodles and a couple of tablespoons of dark soy sauce. A bit more stir-frying ensued, and after a check for seasoning it was done!

I ate these noodles with some steamed green vegetables dressed with a little sesame oil. And if I say so myself the whole thing was totally delicious. Though to be honest anything involving ginger, garlic and chilli generally is.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The Secluded Tea Party, Cambridge, UK

I love a good afternoon tea. What's not to like- sandwiches, savouries, scones, cake, and a nice cuppa. And what better time for a cheering afternoon tea than cold and grey January. Thanks to coordination by top jeweller and food blogger Deepa, myself Nora and Sarah, all went to The Secluded Tea Party organised by Miss Sue Flay (nb not her real name) last weekend.
The secret venue turned out to be the rather plush Cambridge Cookery School and we were soon ensconced around a central table laden with lots of lovely things all made by Miss S Flay herself.

As a non-meat eater I had my own little selection of cheese and garlic jam sandwiches as well as some delicious and still warm caramalised red onion tartlets. There were plenty of other classic sandwich options with ham and garlic jam for the meat-eaters and more veggie friendly choices of egg and cress and Red Leicester and spring onion too.

Moving on to the sweet side of things, we enjoyed an array of chocolate macarons with vanilla cream, freshly baked fruit scones with homemade peach and ameretto jam, and a rich chocolate ganache cake.

We also had a wide choice of different teas (from TeaPigs and TeaBoxOnline) to pick from. I had a lovely light vanilla infusion. And all of this was for the bargainous price of only £12!

The food was served on lots of mis-matched, vintage china which made everything seem more individual and special. I really enjoyed this afternoon- getting to catch up with some internet friends in real life, meeting some new people, being surrounded by pretty things and scoffing lots of food. An ideal Sunday afternoon!

Miss Sue Flay can be found on Twitter or keep an eye of her blog for further afternoon tea dates in Cambridge and the surrounding area.