Friday, 31 December 2010


I already have a few recipes ready in my sleeve....

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Thai Chicken Galangal soup

Chicken galangal soup
This is one of my favorite thai soups.
I learnt to do it a long time ago, when I was taking Thai cooking classes. The recipe stayed with me and I cook it regularly. It's very delicate and quite easy to make, and very healthy.
I live close to Chinatown, so I am pretty spoilt, but I reckon many of you will find it difficult to find fresh galangal, and all the other ingredients I always have at home. I'd say you could replace it by either fresh ginger or pwdered galagal, however, it wopn't quite be the same. Thai food is best eaten with fresh ingredients. Other than that, the other ingredients should be easy enough to find in normal supermarkets, in Britain anyway.

You will need for 4 people (or two greedy ones):
- 200g chicken Fillet, sliced into mouth size pieces
- 5 slices of fresh galangal
- 2 cups of Coconut milk (a tin of Chaokoh coconut milk will be perfect)
- 1 cup chicken stock or water
- 2 sticks of fresh lemongrass sliced diagonally
- 3-4 Kaffir lime leaves, fresh if possible, dry is ok
- 2 tblsp thai fish sauce
- 1 to 2 tablspn Lime juice
- 5 bird eye chilis, (2 if you are a bit sensitive), sliced
- 2 sprigs of fresh coriander
- 200g fresh mushrooms, prepared and cut in half

Heat the coconut in a pan, dilute with either chicken stock or water , and once hot, throw in the galangal, mushroom, lemongrass, kafir lime and then the chicken.
Season with the lime juice and fish sauce, the chilis
Simmer for one minute only and then add the coriander to garnish.
Serve right away and enjoy.

This soup is great to warm you up in winter, and obviously can be apreciated in hot weather as well. It
feels very light and satisfying.

It is a typical soup you can find in Thailand, in restaurants or as street food. The photo at the top was taken at my favorite streetfood stall
in Koh Samui: John's stall as I mentioned in an earlier post.

The soup can also be made with prawns or seabass instead of chicken.
Also, the same soup can be made without the coconut milk (only chicken soup), but it would then be a Tom Yam soup, very delicious as well.

The best coconut milk available in our shop is the chokaoh brand, as it is made of young coconut scrapped.

I have inserted below a few photos I took during a stay in Thailand, where I visited a coconut harvest at a plantation, near Chiang Mai:
Coconut milk heated

Source: My Thai cook teacher Chorchaba, photos: myself.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

North African Tabouleh

Very common in France, but much more difficult to find in the UK, a tabouleh is a (cold) fresh and summery salad with a base of couscous. Very easy to make, it has very fresh minty notes and can be easily taken to a party or a picnic.
In the middle east, boulghour is used instead of couscous grain.

You will need for 4:
- 300g couscous
- The same volume of boiling water as that of couscous grain.
- 4 tomatoes cut in dice
- 1 diced white onion
- 1 bunch of parsley chopped finely
- 1 bunch of mint chopped finely
- the juice of a lemon
- 10cl oil
- salt, pepper.

Mix the couscous grain with the oil, salt, then add the boiling water, and set aside for 1/2h.
Then add the other ingredients, then leave in the fridge for a while.

Serve cool.

Easy no?
North African cuisine is completely integrated in French cuisine and kitchens, and you will find the dishes cooked in French homes as well as in restaurants everywhere. It is a very fragrant, fresh and full of flavours.

Enjoy the tabouleh whilst the good weather lasts!

Source: Photography, me , and recipe, the one I tend to make.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Self-saucing chocolate cake

Self saucing chocolate cake

You know how chocolate cakes can be same-same...

Well, I found a very original one, in my favorite cake book: 'Cakes Bakes and desserts triple tested by Australian Women's Weekly'. They generally have recipes you can be confident about, but this one in particular is absolutely brilliant, it contains absolut gems...

Dieters abstain, of course!

It's one of these I had not made yet, and I was wondering about the result, slighly sceptical I suppose.
I reduced the sugar content as I am not a sweet tooth and also to make the dessert easier to remember, and I increased the cocoa coontent:

-60g butter
-125ml milk
-vanilla extract
-5 tblspoon 100% cocoa powder
-5 tblspoon 100% cocoa powder extra
-150g caster sugar
-150g self raising flour
-150g brown sugar
- 500ml boiling water

Grease a small oven dish, and preheat the oven if necessary at 180 degrees.
Melt the butter with the milk in a medium milk pan,
Remove from the heat and mix in the caster sugar and the vanilla extract,
Then add the sifted flour and cocoa.
Pour the mix in the oven dish.
Sift the brown sugar and extra cocoa pwder over the mix.
Pour very gently (you can use a turned up spoon to make the pouring more so) the boiling water over the cake - yes I know this part is weird!
Then cook in the middle of the onen at 180 degrees C for 40 minutes.

Wait 10 min approximately before serving (you don't want to burn your guests'tastebuds, do you?).

Self saucing chocolate cake

I am very pleased with this cake. Apart fromn being a brilliant party trick to finish a meal, it is a doodle to make, and takes no time. I was very impressed with the self saucing effect, and the sauce comes out tasting similar to the french chocolate pots from my youth.

So a big thumbs up for that one, and especially to my favorite book. I have no commission on it, but I do highly recomment getting it :)

Source: recipe, Australian Women's Weekly, Photography, myself.

Self saucing chocolate cake

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Exotic summer cake (no baking )

Exotic summer cake (no baking )

Another dish inspired by mango, because they are very tasty at the moment.
And again, it is an 'on the spur of the moment' cake. It fits the bill as well: easy, very quick to make, and very tasty, refreshing in the summer...

It is based loosely on tiramisu and Charlotte.

You will need:
- 6-7 small brioches each cut in three pieces in the length (slices)
- 1 pot of mascarpone
- 1 ripe sweet mango cut in slices
- 3 heaped tablespoon sugar
- 2 big splashes of cherry alcohool (or another alcohool if you don't have any)
- 1 passion fruit

Lay on the bottom and sides of a medium sized dish the slices of brioche. sprinkle with a dash of the cherry alcohool.
Mix the mascarpone with the sugar, then pour half of it on the brioche as a flat layer.
Lay the mango slices on top as a layer.
Pour the remaining mascarpone on top as a layer again.
Sprinkle the passion fruit pulp evenly on the cake.
Place in the fridge for two hours.

Eat and Enjoy.

Recipe and photography: me
Exotic summer cake (no baking )

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Sweet and sour cold summer soup & hot sweet grilled gammon on the side

Sweet and sour cold summer soup

You have never heard of this dish?
Me neither. I just invented it today, and it is definitely worth sharing. I had a very sudden burst of good inspiration. And once again, it is very quick to prepare and is very tasty, and the salad is very healthy.

Per person for the sweet gammon you will need:
- 1 slice of gammon
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- black pepper, coarsely ground.

Prepare the gammon first as it takes 18 minutes to cook.
Lay the slice of gammon on a flat over proof dish or plate, brush it with the maple syrup, sprinkle with the black pepper. Done.
Cook at 200 degrees (last 5 min with the grill on) in the oven for 18-20 min depending on your oven.
sweet grilled gammon
Per person for the cold soup you will need:
- 4 little tomatoes cut in quarters or 8/10 cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1 mango, diced (use the juice too)
-1/4 lime juice
- fish sauce - same amount as the lime juice
- 1 small clove of garlic (optional)
- 1 slice of fresh ginger finely chopped
- a small handful of roasted peanuts
- 1 lemongrass stalk, sliced
- 1 kaffir lime leaf, fresh if possible
- 1/2 a chili pepper (less if you use the Birdeye type)

Mix all the ingredients. Done, how's that for easy!?

Serve the sweet gammon and the soup at the same time, and enjoy. It is very refreshing, very tasty in flavour, rich and satisfying. And there you are, you have your five a day...

The dish looks beautiful and colourful, so if you have guests to impressed and want to spare some efforts, that's the one.

On a funny note, I'd probably describe this dish as Thailando-Canadian!

I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I have!
Sweet and sour cold summer soup

Recipe and photo: me.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Cheung Chau Island, Hong Kong (Part 1)

Quite a while ago, I started blogging about Hong Kong, but I am not quite over on the subject.
- You will have to excuse the poor picture quality, as I took only a little compact that time, my faithful Optio SV -

I really want to talk to you about the day I spent on my own on the little island of Cheung Chau. I have been totally under its charm at first sight. A very quiet place where life goes slowly, populated by friendly people (who only speak Cantonese by the way so be warned...).
The island is west of Hong Kong island and it takes about an hour by ferry to reach it.

View of the harbourView of the harbourView of the harbour

The main business seems to be fishing,

View of the harbourHarbour roadHarbour road
And as soon as one lands, it is obvious looking at the harbour promenade, that tourism and in particular seafood restaurants are the main attraction of the island.

I took a stroll inside the island first, keeping the restaurant string for when I would be hungry later.
A few hundred yards further, after plodding along the narrow street,
Narrow street towards the beachNarrow street in side streets
I found myself by the beach on the other side of the island, having passed what seemed to be a resort, chinese way. The beach was being worked on, as the month of February is a quiet one.
Holiday housesthe beach in winter...

Coming back into the small town, I came across shrine and church,
Mini templeChinese church of fatima?

And amongst the shopping and workshop streets
WorkshopCul de sac
Back street
A lot of dry fish for sale
Dried seafoodDried seafood

And I will always remember the amazing smell of the dried (drying?) noodles...

noodles shop

To be followed.....

Monday, 2 August 2010

A light salad for the summer

When it's hot and sunny, I always crave for fresh ingredients, and a cooling and refreshing dish . Nothing better than a salad, like I've eaten all my youth, when I was living in France. Over there, people decline salad to infinite. today I would like to share a salad with you, my favorite in fact...:

For 2 people:

- 1 can sweetcorn

- 4 medium tomatoes

- Optional: rice, 100g
- 100g hard cheese (emmenthal, gruyere) diced
- 200g cooked (shallow fried or grilled) chicken breast in strips (OR diced surimi sticks OR a vegetarian alternative but you have been warned, chicken works best ...)
- optional: Cervelas (Swiss sausage) diced
(Or cooked frankfurters sliced thickly but really not as good as cervelas)

For the vinaigrette sauce:

- 1 tblsp of honey vinegar or Xeres vinegar
- 2 tblsp of rapeseed oil or light tasting olive oil
- 1 tblsp of water
- 1 tblsp honey

Mix all the ingredients together,
Mix the vinaigrette
Pour the vinaigrette on top of the mix, and leave for 10-20 minutes to marinate, then serve.

This salad is rather sweet and sour, and is easy to take to work for lunch. It is balanced, tasty and light, colourful and takes minutes. what else could I say to convince you!?....

Bon Apetit!