If I had to pick my favourite cuisine ever, it would hands down be Thai. I love the flavours, ingredients and what is done with them; for me the dishes are just perfect combinations, every time. As is the way with dishes that become popular around the world, they sometimes get butchered into almost unrecognizable versions of the original, think Chinese/Indian/Thai take away. I can assure you the food I ate whilst in China and Thailand bore little resemblance to the quicker take away versions I have eaten in the UK. That being said, I’m a sucker for take out but they are something different from the real deal. This recipe is one of those quick and easy cheats, a take out for the home, but it does the job. It has those key Thai ingredients, a hint of spice and a whole big serving of satisfaction. It was what this Friday night called for, as we packed for our week holiday. It is a cheat because I use a store bought paste; as much as one day I’d really like to make my own Thai curry paste, life is busy and sometimes you just gotta buy a jar. I’ve cooked this dish a lot and never blogged it because it is a bit of a cheat but then I remembered there are people out there who are equally, if not busier than me who might be looking for a quick recipe too. This one is based on the recipe I’ve been faithful to for the last few years.
This summer, James and I went of a cookery course in London. It was a Christmas gift from my family, what a great idea! The location was stunning, St Katherine’s Dock, and the lesson courtesy of The Smart School of Cookery, run by ex Master Chef contestant Ann Hood. We had a great afternoon; we learnt a great way to finely chop onions and that you can keep ginger, lemon grass, chillies and fruit in the freezer to grate or zest from frozen. Other tips we learnt were to use rape seed oil to fry, as it burns at a much higher temperature than olive oil (a whole 60°C higher!) and that when buying oils, always go for cold pressed and good quality. We cooked three curries; Padang, Vietnamese and Punjab. They were all so tasty but my favourite was the Punjab, probably because it has nectarines in it.
One thing I found really interesting was that all the curries used the same base, to which curry specific additions were added later. You can make large quantities of the base and freeze it in ice cube trays, to add a cube or two to a curry from frozen. A great time saving tip.
Courgette and I didn’t have a lot to do with each other for the majority of my life so far. In fact, I did everything I could to stop that relationship in its tracks. I had nightmares about being served roasted vegetables, now a favourite of mine, due to the soggy courgette I had to endure. However, things changed when my sister made a courgette, cinnamon and walnut cake and out of politeness I had some. It was a game changer, that cake was exquisite. Then came the summer of the allotment; I can claim no glory for this as my sister did the hard work (I did the eating) but last summer, whilst the parents were away, we got through endless enormous courgettes from the allotment (see photo later). We ate courgette lasagne, courgette Thai green curry, stuffed courgette, courgette cakes; you get the picture.
I have been meaning to blog these fries for ages and spent even longer intending to make them but finally, the day has come! A few weeks back I decided that Friday night would be pizza and fries night, but given my adoration of vegetables, it was sweet potato pizza and courgette fries night.
The recipe is based on one I found on Alaska from Scratch but I adapted it to make it gluten free/paleo. They were pretty tasty I must say, and much less guilt inducing that actual fries. I love the Parmesan on these but if you are lactose intolerant or strictly paleo/dairy free then just add an extra tbsp of ground almonds and any extra seasoning you’d like.
I’ve been on a baking binge recently. Life has been hectic to say the least and my way of switching off/relaxing/getting in that zone is baking. As such, when I got home a blessed hour early from work, earlier in the week, I took full advantage. Cookies, cake and sausage rolls later, I was content and ready for bed. I’ve been making a point recently to make recipes out of cook books I’ve never used. You know the ones that you saw in the shop and ABSOLUTELY needed but then after drooling through all the recipes, you haven’t actually made any? I have an extensive collection of such cook books. This recipe is from a book entitled ‘The best-ever book of cakes‘, quite the grand statement and whilst possibly not completely true, it is a fantastic and educational cake cook book. Given my penchant for all things gluten free, I made this with gluten free flour. I fed it to my colleagues without telling them it was gluten free until they’d finished, they were astounded. I astounded myself by preferring the orange sponge over the chocolate; both were great but I couldn’t get enough of the subtle zestiness.
If you read my post on Orange, Cranberry & Poppy Seed Cookies or Lemon Cake with Poppy Seed Buttercream then you’ll know that I’m new to this whole citrus/fruity dessert world. My boyfriend branded this cake as ‘amazing!’ and I have to say, it was pretty delicious. I’m tempted to make a festive slightly spiced version nearer to Christmas; let’s face it, what is more festive than a chocolate orange?!
Since having bought some poppy seeds to make a lemon cake with poppy seed buttercream, I’ve been looking for ways to use up the poppy seeds. I then saw the recipe for these cookies in Joy the Baker’s book and decided that they looked utterly divine and I needed to make them. I made a promise to myself to pick up Joy’s cook book this week and make something from it because it is such a beautiful book. I opted for gluten free flour and I can honestly say these are THE MOST melt in the mouth cookies I have ever made. I wasn’t expecting more than an averagely tasty cookie but then I put one in my mouth and proceeded to eat the rest ( I did share). Thankfully I only cooked a third of the batch, 12 cookies was indulgence enough (they were small cookies).
I’m really getting into adding orange to things too, I used to run away from fruit dessert – full speed to the chocolatey desserts, but I’m getting there with the fruity side of life. I’ve always loved fruit but usually just as it it.