Spinach Soup with Lemon and Garlic Crumbs – Book Review of ‘The Flexible Vegetarian’ by Jo Pratt

A really lovely looking cookbook landed on my door step recently. The Flexible Vegetarian by Jo Pratt is a beautiful compilation of recipes to inspire us all along vegetarian lines whether you want a purely vegetarian meal or perhaps you want to adapt it to be more meat/fish friendly.

The cover is simple and effective with a handprinted aubergine on the front. Pretty adorable don’t you agree? ‘Flexible’, because it will appeal to everyone whether you eat meat and fish or not.  Whilst all the recipes are vegetarian there is a section at the bottom of the recipe giving you an alternative to include meat/fish.  For example, one recipe that jumped out of the page at me was the ‘fennel, pumpkin and green olive tagine’ – I mean how delicious does that sound? If you follow the ‘flexible’ option then she tells you what to do to make it a chicken tagine. So simple and yet rather effective. There are some really lovely sounding recipes ‘aromatic tea-smoked mushroom ramen’, ‘courgette fritti with goat’s cheese and truffle honey’, ‘aubergine and green been laksa’, ‘Turkish pie with spinach and aubergine’ to name a few. The recipes all look very easy to follow and are perfect for lunches or dinners.

Photography by Susan Bell from The Flexible Vegetarian by Jo Pratt, published by Frances Lincoln
Photography by Susan Bell from The Flexible Vegetarian by Jo Pratt, published by Frances Lincoln

I was craving greens so was drawn to the spinach soup. I am big fan of all green vegetables and when I initially saw it it reminded me of my Forentine Lemongrass  Soup that I put up on my blog when I started it over 6 year ago (excuse the dodgy photos back then) and my wild garlic, courgette and lemon soup with poached egg and crispy panko breadcrumbs I think the similarities probably start and end with the same colour. Anyway Jo’s spinach soup looked a perfect way to give my body a good dose of healthiness in one sitting. I like the fact that the crumb combined parmesan, crispy breadcrumbs, garlic and lemon zest – a bit of zing, salt and crunch rolled into one. YUM.

It took minutes to whizz together and provided a most satisfying lunch, but would  work equally well as a starter. Her ‘flexible’ option was to combine anchovy fillets to the crumb, giving the soup a more salty depth.

 

Spinach Soup with Lemon and Garlic Crumbs (By Jo Pratt from ‘The Flexible Vegetarian’

Serves 6-8

40g butter

1 leek sliced

1 bunch of spring onions (scallions), chopped

1 stick celery, finely sliced

1 medium potato, peeled and sliced

1 bay leaf

1 litre vegetable stock

500g fresh spinach leaves

flaked sea salt and freshly group black pepper

to serve

1 tsp of  creme fraiche per serving, optional

 

For the crumbs

2 dry/stale piece white bread, whizzed in a food processor to create crumbs

2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

olive oil

25g finely grated parmesan cheese

 

  1. Heat the butter in a pan and gently sauté the leek, spring onion, celery, potato and bay leaf for a few minutes and then place a lid on the pan to allow to sweat and soften  for 10 minutes, stirring a couple of times to prevent sticking at the bottom of the pan.
  2. Pour in the stock and continue to simmer for a further 5 minutes so that the potato has softened.
  3. Remove the bay leaf and then add the spinach and gently stir.
  4. Using a hand blender blitz until smooth and vivid green. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.
  5. In a frying pan add a glug of oil and then fry the crumbs so that they crisp slightly. Remove from the pan and mix with the lemon zest, parmesan and a little salt and pepper if required.
  6. Serve the soup in bowls with a scattering of crispy crumb mix and a dollop of creme fraiche if using.

The Flexible Vegetarian by Jo Pratt you can order here. It is published by Frances Lincoln.

 

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Good Together – Drink and Feast with Mr Lyan and Friends

It felt like only the other day that Ryan Chetiyawardana aka Mr Lyan launched his first book – ‘Good Things to Drink’, which included lots of inventive beverages to tempt even the most strict teetotaller. Out on October 1st his latest book ‘Good Together – Drinks & Feast with Mr Lyan and Friends’, published by Frances Lincoln, will be launched.  I was lucky enough to be sent an advance copy so have been leafing through this delicious tome with wondrous photographs by the talented Kim Lightbody.

Photo credit © Kim Lightbody

Mr Lyan  knows his cocktails and is the man behind the award-winning London bar ‘Dandelyan’ as well as ‘Super Lyan’ (previously White Lyan). His cocktails are inventive and often have the wow factor so it’s no wonder he has been named UK Bartender of the year twice.

This book has combined food and drink to help you prepare for all types of social gatherings. He has roped in a number of his chef pals to come up with a wide range of captivating recipes and alongside those recipes are straightforward and exciting cocktails by Mr L, that you will want to try out at home. To give you a flavour of some of the chapters here are a few (along with the chefs who came up with the menu plan).

‘An Indian Extravaganza’ recipes created by Karan Gokani from Sri Lankan hotspot ‘Hoppers’

‘Pasta and Wine’ by Tim Siadatan from ‘Trullo’ and ‘Padella’

‘Eastern Banquet’ by Lisa Lov, ‘Tigermom’

‘Thanksgiving Dinner’ by Tien Ho, ‘Whole Foods’

‘The Country Table’ by James Lowe from ‘Lyle’s’

Sounds good hey!

Photo credit © Kim Lightbody

This book will appeal to those who like to experiment and perhaps go out of the comfort zone when it comes to cuisine. Unfussy eaters will love it, those who are a bit more picky will falter  – ‘lamb heart bulgur’, ‘oysters and onions’ (this is a soup), ‘pigs’ ear salad with chilli oil and sesame’! That said it has some absolute home run sounding dishes – ‘red curry of braised pork cheeks with boiled peanuts and confit potatoes’ – er YUM, ‘hot and sour tamarind broth with bitter greens and cockles’ – yup I’ll have me some of them, ‘salad of poached chicken and wild mushrooms’ – heavenly sounding, tuna with ajo blanco – mmmmm.

The cocktails  also look utterly tempting and even have some lovely non-alcoholic sounding ones such as the ‘sorrel cooler’ and the ‘oolong soda’. I love the sound of the ‘honey and burnt honey punch’, which includes  mandarins, clover or wildflower honey, clover tea, mead and so on.

Photo credit © Kim Lightbody

So for this post I decided to try out a couple of recipes from the ‘watching the game’ section. ‘Fried chicken with radishes and bloody Mary butter’ caught my eye – I was curious on this ‘crowd pleasing recipe’ and to eat along side I opted for the ‘pot-roast cauliflower with cultured butter and maldive fish’. It sounded different and have never roasted a cauliflower whole before so I was eager to see how it turned out.

So my honest feedback is that the fried chicken was good – pretty straightforward – and would appeal to most people. The bloody Mary butter I found to be disappointing and in my humble opinion does not go with the chicken. I used whipping cream, as instructed, and even added more tabasco for extra kick, but however you cut it the cream did not marry well with the chicken in this instance. Instead I would recommend either making a sriracha mayo blend or making my chipotles en adobe . Personally I think that would complement the chicken better, but that’s just my opinion.

The cauliflower with cultured butter and Maldive fish was a great idea. I added anchovies instead of Maldive fish – as it’s what I had to hand. I cooked to the exact timings but the cauliflower was still a little uncooked in the centre so I put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes to help roast it a little further. So be aware you may well need to do the same – I guess it depends on your oven and cooking pot. I love cauliflower and am always looking at new and interesting ways to cook it and I think this one ticked that box.

So it was a thumbs up, other than the butter, and there are a number of other recipes that are calling out to me, not forgetting the cocktails which I will try over the Autumn as they do look rather wonderful.

You can order a copy here or pick up a copy from all good bookshops. It is published by Frances Lincoln and retails at £20.

 

Fried Chicken with Radishes and Bloody Mary Butter

serves 4-6

1.5 kg organic chicken legs

vegetable oil

1 handful of radishes, to serve

*****

For the buttermilk brine

500ml buttermilk

2tsp smoked paprika

2 garlic cloves, sliced

2 fresh rosemary sprigs

1 fresh parsley sprig (stalks and all)

1 thyme sprig (stalk only, use the leaves in the coating)

salt and pepper

*****

For the coating flour

200g plain flour

3g fresh thyme leaves

3g celery salt

2g cracked black pepper

10g onion powder

*****

For the Bloody Mary butter

300ml whipping or double (heavy) cream

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp Tabasco

1 tsp tomato paste

salt and pepper

 

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the ‘butter milk brine’ together and cover all over the chicken. Marinate for 12 hours sealed, in the fridge
  2. Mix the ‘coating flour’ ingredients together and place in a shallow bowl.
  3. Remove the chicken pieces from the fridge and place on the flour so that are coated completely. Set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
  5. Heat the oil in a shallow pan over a medium heat and in batches of two seal the chicken pieces so that they are golden on both sides. Place on a plate whilst you finish doing the rest.
  6. Place into an ovenproof dish and finish off in the oven for a further 25 minutes (in the book he says 15 but I wanted to be sure they were cooked through completely).
  7. To make the ‘bloody Mary butter’ add all the ingredients and mix with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Serve the fried chicken with the radishes and the whipped butter (or some sriracha butter or my chipotle)

 

************

Pot-Roast Cauliflower with Cultured Butter and Maldive Fish/Anchoives

75g salted butter (raw or cultured)

1 medium cauliflower

30ml (2 tbsp) raw cider vinegar

15g dried Maldive fish/anchoives

3g (1.5tsp) yellow mustard seeds

salt and pepper

parsley, chopped to garnish

 

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Heat an ovenproof pan (with a lid) on the hob on medium heat.
  3. Add the butter, then the cauliflower, florets down and cook for 5-7 minutes so that when you turn it over it has bronzed slightly.
  4. Turn it over and add the vinegar, Maldive fish/anchovies, mustard seeds and seasoning and cover.
  5. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes so that it is soften on the inside. Leave it for a little longer if this is not the case.
  6. Remove from the oven and place on a serving dish and cover with the juices from the pan and chopped parsley.

Eat with the fried chicken.

 

Whilst I was kindly sent an advanced copy of this book all the opinions and views are my own.

 

 

 

 

 


Sri Lankan Egg Curry and ‘Sri Lanka The Cookbook’

Recently, when I was in Sri Lanka, I was having a look at the local cookery books and, similar to the ones I had seen in Kerala, they seemed a bit dated, 70’s style.

 

Photograph by © Kim Lightbody and book published by Frances Lincoln

Don’t get me wrong the recipes are probably wonderful, but today we are quite spoilt with such beautiful cookery books being published here in the UK that the bar has been raised long ago on what makes a great looking cookery book. So you can image how thrilled I was to arrive home to find Prakash Sivanathan and Niranjala Ellawala’s beautiful cookbook ‘Sri Lanka The Cookbook’ waiting for me – photo above. 

Photograph by © Kim Lightbody and book published by Frances Lincoln

Firstly I adore the tactile, almost hessian feeling cover and opening up the book I was equally as impressed. The photographs, of which there are many, where well shot by Kim Lightbody – matt and crisp with great props and importantly, tasty looking recipes. Photographs are so important and sometimes I have high hopes when opening a cook book for the first time and my heart sinks a little as the photographs just don’t do justice to the book. I’m no pro by any means but I am quite particular on what I think looks good to the reader.

Photograph by © Kim Lightbody and book published by Frances Lincoln

The book starts with an introduction giving a concise overview of Sri Lanka’s chequered past, it’s people and cuisine. As a side note: if you want to learn more about Sri Lanka I highly recommend these two books that I read on my recent trip. Love them both equally.

It then gives a short note about the authors themselves and their background – interestingly Niranjala is  Sinhalese from the south, growing up in the the hill country in Ratnapura and Balangoda and Prakash a Tamil from the Jaffna peninsula in the north – and then moving to London for university. Following their studies they set up ‘Elephant Walk’ restaurant in London in 2004. In 2006 it won the coveted ‘Cobra Good Curry Guide Award’ for the best Sri Lankan Restaurant in the UK.  The restaurant closed however in 2013 and the couple continue to work with food through their Coconut Kitchens cookery school.

Photograph by © Kim Lightbody and book published by Frances Lincoln

The next sections are dedicated to a glossary of ingredients and how to make a range Sri Lankan curry powders, before tempting readers with a host of Sri Lankan favourites: idli, appa (hoppers), sambols and many meat, fish and vegetable kari (curries). Some of the ingredients they use are exciting as I don’t often cook with them – such as plantain, snake gourd, breadfruit. Thankfully I live near an Asian area so sourcing all these ingredients is straightforward. For the home cook who loves to try new things – this is the book for you. That said there are many ingredients which don’t require so much sourcing for ingredients – such as the prawn and coconut curry or spicy baked chicken. Come the Autumn I am definitely going to be trying the ‘wild boar curry’. There are a few pages dedicated to sweet recipes – love cake, semolina pudding, banana fritters, but it is the mains, sambols and other savoury delights, which really capture my attention.

Photograph by © Kim Lightbody and book published by Frances Lincoln

It is published by Francis Lincoln and is available to buy at all good bookshops or online. This is definitely a keeper for me and I hope those of you who want to try to widen your Sri Lankan repertoire will consider getting hold of a copy. It’s a book you want to linger over and to go back to time and time again.

I thought the ‘Mutate Kulambu’ or ‘Egg Curry’ looked a lovely recipe to share with you all. It is straightforward and is great for a vegetarian lunch or supper.

 

It talks about adding a tablespoon of Thool (curry powder), but since I bought some back with my from Sri Lanka I have not followed their recipe for curry powder but thought it might be useful to include it for you if you would like to replicate this recipe here at home. Their are 2 methods and I have shown you method ‘A’.

Roasted Tamil Curry Powder: Thool

250g coriander seeds

50g cumin seeds

75g fennel seeds

20g fenugreek seeds

250g dried red chillies

20 fresh curry leaves

1 tsp ground turmeric

50g black peppercorns

 

  1. Dry roast the coriander seeds in a frying pan until they are golden brown. Keep the pan moving the pan so that the spices do not burn. Remove from the pan and place to one side.
  2. In separate batches dry roast the cumin seeds, followed by the fennel and fenugreek seeds. Set aside.
  3. Dry roast the dried red chillies for 20 seconds or so allowing them to darken in colour. Set aside.
  4. Take the pan off the heat and when it is hot add the turmeric and toss for a few seconds so that it is lightly roasted.
  5. Place all the ingredients, including the black peppercorns into a spice grinder – I love my Krups – and grind to form a fine powder.

Place in an airtight container. They say it will last up to 2 months but I keep mine for much longer to be honest.

Muttai Kulambu: Egg Curry

serves 4

4 hard boiled eggs

2 tbsp oil

half tsp mustard seeds

half medium onion, finely chopped

6 fresh curry leaves

6 garlic cloves, cut into quarters

2 green chillies chopped

half tsp fenugreek seeds

quater tsp cumin seeds

quarter tsp ground turmeric

200ml coconut milk

400ml water

1 tbsp Thool – Sri Lankan curry powder

quarter tsp salt

 

  1. After boiling the eggs for 9 minutes (if medium size and 12 minutes if large eggs), shell them and cut them in half lengthways and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium, lidded saucepan over a low heat. Add the mustard seeds and once they begin to pop – which will be a few seconds later – add the onion and curry leaves and stir for a few seconds. Add the garlic, chillies, fenugreek and cumin seeds and cook until the onions are soft and turning golden.
  3. Add the turmeric and stir. Add the coconut milk, water, curry powder and salt and mix well. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and half cover allowing the sauce to simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Gently slide in the halved eggs and half cover with the lid again and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Taste for salt and remove from the heat and serve.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: Mountain Berries and Desert Spice and Spiced Apple Samosas

 

I am probably the first to admit that I often overlook desserts and sweet things. In the case of cookbooks I also tend to find that the obligatory sweet recipes are placed in the back, often as an afterthought and the centre stage is given to the savoury dishes.

Coming out this April, however, is a beautifully evocative book that focuses exclusively on sweet inspirations from the Hunza Valley to the Arabian Sea, written by food writer and cookery teacher, Sumayya Usmani, author of ‘Summers Under the Tamarind Tree’ – I wrote all about her first book here. It’s actually rather refreshing to have a book solely dedicated to all manner of sweet delights from Sumayya’s homeland, Pakistan.

 

Photography © Joanna Yee – Mountain Berries and Desert Spice by Sumayya Usmani is published by Frances Lincoln, an imprint of The Quarto group

She interweaves stories of her childhood and memories with beautiful photographs of the region and recipes that really tempt you to try making for yourself at home. It’s the type of book that I like to pour over and read all the stories as well as the recipes. She demystifies how to make all manner of sweet delights – family recipes from the foothills of the Hundu Kush mountains in the north – where berries and fruits grow in abundance, via the fertile Punjab, where rice and grain based desserts are prevalent to the Arabian sea in the south, where saffron and cardamon laced sweet recipes are a favourite.

 

 

The chapters themselves are equally evocative and capture the essence of the book wonderfully:

Chilli mangoes and ocean breeze

Festive spice and roses

Sugar almonds and buffalo milk

Kite, kingdoms and cardamon samosas

Through mulberry valleys

A saffron blaze

and so they go on….

Many of the recipes look inviting from ‘Sohan saffron honey caramels with rose water, pistachio and almonds to Bakar khani – sweet puff pastry biscuits, Mulberry and cherry fruit leather, Nan-e nokhochi – chickpea flour shortbread with cloves. Rose water, rose petals, saffron threads and pistachio are used on many occasions in the recipes so it may well be worth stocking up on these. When mangoes are in season I can’t wait to try the ‘mango, thyme and pink salt with rose water clotted cream’ – I like the sweet and salty aspect to this dish.

I opted for the ‘spiced apple samosas’ for todays post. The pastry was really easy and quick to make and I covered it with a damp cloth whilst I made the filling for the samosas.

The trick is to not over fill the samosas. Keep close to the instructions and you won’t go wrong. I sprinkled them with a little more cinnamon powder and icing sugar before eating. I had extra filling leftover so made another batch of pastry. The perfect afternoon snack with a cup of tea or chai.

 

Spiced Apple Samosas

makes 6-8

for the pastry

150g plain all-purpose flour

pinch of salt

1 tbsp fine semolina

water, as needed

vegetable oil for deep frying

For the filling

6 Royal Gala apples, peeled, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces

100g super fine golden caster sugar

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

4 cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground

pinch of mace

  1. To make the pastry combine the flour, salt and semolina in a bowl. Add water slowly so that the dough is formed.
  2. Knead the dough until it is soft and then cover with a damp towel.
  3. In a saucepan add the apples, sugar and spices and cook on a low heat until they soften – about 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
  4. Roll the dough out so that it is 1/4 inch thick and using a pastry cutter – I tried with both 2 and 3 inch diameter cutters – larger is slightly easier. Cut out around 6-8 circles.
  5. Place 1 tsp of filling for each samosa and fold over to create a half moon shape. Using a fork, press down firmly to seal completely.
  6. Heat the oil and when it is hot (check by dropping in a crumb to see if it fizzles) drop in a couple of the samosas. Deep-fry for 2 minutes on each side – or less if your oil is hotter. Remove with a slotted spoon and serve immediately.

Sumayya suggests serving with whipped cream with a teaspoon of rose water and dried rose petals. 

You can pre-order Mountain Berries and Desert Spice here

 

 

 

 

 

 


Ferment Pickle Dry – Cookbook Review and Preserved Lemons

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Over the last few years I have seen a revival of ancient cooking techniques, such as pickling, fermenting and drying, and along with this new found enthusiasm has sprung some exciting and informative books to help teach and guide us on our new culinary journey. I was recently sent a copy of a beautiful new cookbook that has recently been published.fermented-apples-p-98

Photo credit: Kim Lightbody

Aptly named ‘Ancient methods, modern meals: Ferment, Pickle, Dry’ by Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinska-Poffley, published by Frances Lincoln, it’s beautiful matt photographs, by Kim Lightbody (see above and below re photo credit) really draw the reader in to showcase the limitless range of possibilities that are on offer within the book.

The book acts as a gentle guide through the different processes, providing both simple, and some adventurous, preserving recipes to try at home. In addition it also shows you how to transform your newly preserved ingredients into fabulous dishes – for example alone side ‘pickled French beans’ is the recipe for ‘pickled bean falafel’.

At the start of the book it gives an overview of what you actually need to get going, sterilising tips, as well as key ingredients that you need. The book is then naturally split into three under the techniques outlined on the front cover.kimchi-images

 Photo credit: Kim Lightbody

Photographs accompany some, but not all the recipes, as is pretty standard in cookbooks and both sweet and savoury options are given in each chapter.

napa-kimchi-solyanka

 Photo credit: Kim Lightbody

In the ‘Ferment’ section standout sounding recipes for me were:

-labneh (a thick Middle Eastern yoghurt)  and whey

-pumpkin kimchi – because you can never have enough pumpkin recipes

-nukadoko with udon noodles – my daughters are obsessed with udon noodles so any new flavour to accompany them works for me. Nukadoko I learn is a Japanese rice-bran fermenting bed and is one of the more labour-intense procedures

-Kombucha – the fermenting drink made from tea and is hugely popular in Japan.

In the ‘Pickle’ section the following sounded appealing:

-Green chilli and red onion pickle

-spicy pineapple and mango pickle

-pickled oranges

-pickled watermelon rind and easy pickled nuts

kimchi-biscuits-credit-kim-lightbody

 Photo credit: Kim Lightbody

In all honest ‘drying’ as a technique probably appeals to me less than pickling and fermenting. That said  I regularly make crispy kale crisps and dry roasted pumpkin seeds, but other than that I don’t massively dry foods.  As such I should probably give it more of a go. I love the sound of ‘kimchi or sauerkraut crackers’ and the ‘mango and chilli leather’ or ‘spiced apple and banana leather’, so you never know I may be persuaded to be more exploratory on the drying front.

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My sense is this cook book will appeal to those who get excited to learn new culinary techniques and who are already fairly comfortable in the kitchen. It will also probably appeal to those who like, or who are interested in, foraging. As the authors so aptly put it ‘preserving is more than just a solution to seasonal surplus going to waste. It actually positively transforms fruit and vegetables, bringing out new flavours and textures’.

The preserved lemons recipe caught my eye. I often use them in my cooking  – check out one of my favourite recipes that includes them, so it made sense for me to make a batch.

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It was very straightforward and took minutes to prepare, after I had properly sterilised my jar – 30 mins in an 120 degrees oven (rubber seal removed and boiled in water). Here is what you need to do.

Preserved Lemons

taken from ‘Ferment, Pickle, Dry’ by Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinska-Poffley

600g (approx 5 lemons) unwaxed lemons

40g sea or rock salt (pure, without iodine or anti-caking agent)

approx 1 litre/34fl oz jar

  1. Simply wash and cut all the lemons into at least 6 slices lengthways.
  2. Place into the sterilised jar (see note above on how to sterilise) along with a layer of salt before adding the next layer of lemons. Use the end of a rolling pin to gently mash each layer to release the juices. As the juice is released it forms the ‘brine’ in which the lemons are preserved.
  3. Once all the lemons slices are packed in they should sit just below the surface of the brine. If there is not enough brine mix a little boiling water with a pinch of salt, let it cool then add to the lemons.
  4. Leave to ferment in a warm place for at least 3-4 weeks.

Once fermented, keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.

In a month’s time I hope to have delicious tasting preserved lemons.

 

 

 


Broccoli, Mushroom and Sesame Salad from Korean Food Made Simple by Judy Joo

IMG_1799

Korean food has come a long way – from a mainstream perspective –  in the UK over the last couple of years. I wrote an article for Country & Town House Magazine about it being the ‘next big thing’ a couple of years ago – you can read the article here. Whilst a number of exciting Korean restaurants have sprung up in the centre of London giving us the chance to sample a wide range of mouth watering dishes, I sense we are still a little reluctant to cook it in the home. This reluctance mainly comes from not being familiar with the ingredients and knowing what to cook exactly. Recently however there have been a couple of Korean recipe books published that will no doubt give many the confidence to give Korean cooking a try in the home.

Korean Food Made Simple

Korean Food Made Simple by Judy Joo, photography by Jean Cazals. Published by Jacqui Small (£22). More information on the book can be found here.

Judy Joo’s ‘Korean Food Made Simple’ is what we’ve all being waiting for. In many respects we want our hands held whilst we get familiar with Korean cooking and once we build in confidence we want to attempt dishes that challenge our new skills. Joo’s book gives a wonderful taster of Korean food and guides us on what we need to buy before we embark on this new culinary venture. Her store cupboard chapter is very useful as she spells out all the ingredients that are used in the recipes within the book. If I had to narrow ingredients down for first time Korean cooking I would suggest you buy: Doenjang (Korean soya bean paste), Gochujang (Korean chilli paste) and Gochugaru (Korean chilli flakes). With these few ingredients you can begin to make some of the dishes.

Late Night Naughty Noodles

Korean Food Made Simple by Judy Joo, photography by Jean Cazals. Published by Jacqui Small (£22). More information on the book can be found here.

Joo’s chapters go through the usual chicken, beef & lamb, seafood etc but also have a section on salads and veggies, pancakes, dumplings and other small bites, kimchi and pickles, sauces and breads. There is a lot to read and digest and the beautiful photographs both of the recipes and of Joo and Korea itself really engage the reader and encourage you to try making some of the recipes.

Joo’s rise in the culinary world has been impressive. After a successful stint on Wall Street in New York as a fixed income derivatives sales, Joo felt something was missing in her life. Whilst she liked her job she knew that she had to go down a different path to feel completely fulfilled. Hence she quit and enrolled in cooking school at the French Culinary Institute in New York, which gave her a culinary foundation that she could then build upon. Fast forward to today and she hosts her own cooking show – Korean Food Made Simple – and is regularly on TV. In addition she has opened her own restaurant in London and Hong Kong – Jinjuu –  where she is Chef Patron.

KMFS Ultimate KFC p167

Korean Food Made Simple by Judy Joo, photography by Jean Cazals. Published by Jacqui Small (£22). More information on the book can be found here.

‘Korean Food Made Simple’ is Joo’s first cookbook. The book itself is immediately striking because of it’s lustrous copper, yellow and lilac cover and the glossy photographs within, by Jean Cazals, capture the essence of Korea and Joo’s recipes exceedingly well. It’s the type of book that you want take time to pour over, with stunning photographs of Korean street life and food, architecture and it’s people. The narrative  also sets the scene and gives the reader the encouragement to start cooking Korean food themselves. I think Joo has managed to balance many easy and delicious Korean recipes to prepare at home along with more ‘cheffy’ recipes for those who want their skills to be pushed. The recipes themselves range between classics, classics with a twist and fusion largely owing to Joo’s Korean upbringing in America. She describes herself as a ‘French-trained Korean American Londoner; and the different influences in my life show up in my cooking’.

Many of her recipes appeal – mixed rice bowl with beef, known as bibimbap, is a great one to start with if you want to dive straight into a Korean main course, making your own kimchi is a must – it really is not as hard as you think. Once you have mastered that you can then make all many of delicious treats – kimchi fried rice or pork belly and kimchi stir-fry with tofu as examples.  I adore seabass and Joo has an enticing ‘steamed ginger sea bass’ that I will be trying in the months ahead. On the fusion front I particularly love the sound of the pork tacos and krazy Korean burgers (shown below).

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Korean Food Made Simple by Judy Joo, photography by Jean Cazals. Published by Jacqui Small (£22). More information on the book can be found here.

I made her ‘Broccoli, Mushroom and Sesame Salad’ (see the 1st photo on this blog post), which is light, fresh and super quick to rustle up. The Korean ingredients transform the broccoli and mushrooms giving the dish a real Korean taste. Broccoli is so good for you – check out this interesting article on its health benefits. I did not have Korean apple vinegar, but instead opted for the rice vinegar, which Joo says is a good alternative. Korean ingredients are beginning to be sold more mainstream, although I tend to make the trip to Korean Foods in New Malden. For those living out of London you can easily purchase the Korean staples from a number of online supermarkets who’ll send them to you – Oriental Mart – for example. I would love to hear how you get on with some of her recipes so leave a comment in the comments section of this blog post.

Broccoli, Mushroom and Sesame Salad

Serves 4

2 tbsp roasted sesame seeds

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 tbsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp Korean apple vinegar (sagwa-shikcho) or rice vinegar

1/4 tsp of Korean chilli flakes (gochugaru)

2 cloves garlic, finely grated

175g broccoli florets

115g button mushrooms, stems tried and thinly sliced

2 spring onion, thinly sliced on an angle

  1. Slice, grate and prepare the garlic, spring onions, mushrooms and broccoli.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
  3. In a separate bowl add ice (or very cold water). Place to one side.
  4. In a frying pan toast the sesame seeds for a couple of minutes so that they bronze slightly in colour and let off a nutty smell. Place them in a large bowl along with the sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, chilli flakes, garlic and salt to taste.
  5. Place the broccoli florets to boiling water for no longer than 2 minutes. Strain and immediately plunge the florets into the ice bowl so as to stop the cooking process.
  6. Add the blanched broccoli, mushrooms and spring onions to the bowl with the dressing to coat thoroughly.
  7. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with more chilli flakes and serve.

 


Spiced Tamarind Drink and ‘Summers Under the Tamarind Tree’ Book Review

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I love nothing more than browsing through cookbooks on a Sunday afternoon (actually in truth it doesn’t have to be a Sunday), cup of tea in hand, gleaning inspiration and ideas and planning feasts that I will then cook for loved ones. Cookbooks that take me to foreign shores, where the recipes sound enticing, exotic and evocative are my favourite.  Photographs are also key as they help to set the stage for the reader.

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Image from Summers Under the Tamarind Tree: Recipes & Memories from Pakistan by Sumayya Usmani, photography by Joanna Yee. Published by Frances Lincoln (£20)

So it was with sheer pleasure that I received a copy of fellow food blogger, ‘Sumayya Usmani’s’ first cookbook, ‘Summers Under The Tamarind Tree – Recipes & Memories From Pakistan’. The first thing you notice is the beautiful, understated and yet elegant cover for the book. The tamarind tree is in the middle with Pakistani style art surrounding it. The green, similar to the Pakistan flag, really complements the golden ornate artwork. Before even opening the pages you know you are in for a treat.

Pakistani cuisine has never really been given it’s own voice here in the UK, so it was with this notion in mind that Sumayya set out detailing some recipes from her very own Pakistani heritage to share with a wider audience. She begins by giving the reader a brief overview of Pakistan both geographically and historically. Understanding it’s DNA helps the reader begin to understand the sheer breath of influences that make up Pakistani cuisine. The next few pages are filled with charming black and white, sepia and colour photographs of her growing up with her relatives in Pakistan and we learn about the wonderful food experiences that were etched upon her memory.

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Image from Summers Under the Tamarind Tree: Recipes & Memories from Pakistan by Sumayya Usmani, photography by Joanna Yee. Published by Frances Lincoln (£20)

The next chapter talks about cooking methods -‘Pakistani techniques explained’, which I found really useful and interesting to read. I love the sound of ‘dhuni (smoking)’ by infusing meat or vegetables with coal smoke. I also like the fact that there were some photographs accompanying some of the techniques. Before embarking on the recipes themselves Sumayya gives ‘A note on Spice’, which does not overwhelm the reader with too many spices – 9 spices will be mainly called upon within the book. She then gives us recipes to a number of her family’s masala blends. The chapters are organised along the lines of :

Breaking bread and sharing rice -breads and rice dishes

Meaty markets and weekdays bazaars – beef, lamb and mutton

Birds from the Empress – chicken and other birds

Sailing the seas – seafood and fish

My grandmother’s garden – vegetables, fruit and salad

Homegrown guavas – chutneys and pickles

Under a motia-filled sky – celebration feasts

The sweet taste of mango heaven –  desserts

Chani-pani – hot and cold drinks

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Images from Summers Under the Tamarind Tree: Recipes & Memories from Pakistan by Sumayya Usmani, photography by Joanna Yee. Published by Frances Lincoln (£20).

It all sounds very tempting indeed. Standout recipes for me are undoubtedly: Hyderabad-style samosas, sweet potato and squash parathas, Baluchi-style chicken sajji, spicy crabs, yoghurt and turmeric soup with curry leaves and egg, slow cooked lamb shank curry, mummy’s festive minty beef kofta curry, mango and chilli pepper, spiced pomegranate sharbat. Anyone who loves spice (not necessarily heat) and flavour will love cooking and eating from this book. There are some refreshingly new recipes that will interest and encourage the reader to try some home-cooking Pakistani style.

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Images from Summers Under the Tamarind Tree: Recipes & Memories from Pakistan by Sumayya Usmani, photography by Joanna Yee. Published by Frances Lincoln (£20).

The recipe that was calling out for me to try and show you today was most probably the seed, from which the whole book grew. Summers under the tamarind tree – Spiced tamarind drink. It is Sumayya’s best memory of the many childhood summers she spent lounging under her tamarind tree. Once the weather heats up here in Blighty I think this drink will really come into it’s own. Move over elderflower cordial, spiced tamarind drink is taking centre stage.

 

Spiced Tamarind Drink

serves 4

4 tbsp tamarind pulp (from 200g/7oz dried or fresh tamarind)

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp kalanamak (black salt) or 1 tsp chaat masala

500ml/17 fl oz cups hot water

quarter thin slice of lemon

4 mint leaves, finely chopped

  1. Soak the tamarind in a bowl with hot water for 15 minutes. Use your hands to separate the pulp from the stones and then pass the pulp and tamarind water through a sieve. Discard the stones.
  2. Add the brown sugar, black salt or chaat masala (I used this) and then blend in a hand blender and chill in the fridge.
  3. Serve over crushed ice and add a thin slice of lemon and some fresh mint.

The sour notes from the tamarind will harmonise perfectly with the salt and sweetness of the drink. Roll on hot summer days, this drink is a keeper in my books, I hope you agree.

 

 


Greek Stifado and Broth by Vicki Edgson and Heather Thomas part 2

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Continuing from lasts week’s post where I told you all about the book ‘Broth’ by Vicki Edgson and Heather Thomas and then made a fusion of their classic beef bone broth and rich bone marrow broth I wanted to show you a recipe from their book that used the broth as the foundation to another dish. There were so many options from ‘gulyas’ to ‘osso bucco with gremolata’ to ‘Chinese braised oxtail’ making the decision on what to cook really hard. In the end I opted for ‘stifado’.

IMG_9568It was a stew that was very similar to ones that I had eaten as a child at my maternal grandmothers, but this version was Greek and had some interesting twists that appealed to me. I liked the fact that cinnamon, allspice berries and raisins were added alongside rosemary, bay leaf and shallots. The beef broth that I had laboured over the few days previously also made the dish somewhat delicious. I also found that there was lots of broth left to freeze and use in the future. Result.

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In Greece, Stifado is eaten all year round and is, according to Edgson and Thomas, often a permanent fixture on the menu of most tavernas. It is often made with rabbit or veal, but since we now have rabbits as pets, rabbit on the menu at home has become strictly off limits (understandably) and I wanted to follow the recipe that was in ‘Broth’. I loved the fact that other than a brief amount of cooking on the hob, the rest can be slow cooked in the oven, freeing me up to get on with other things.

The result was a really hearty and delicious stew, where the meat was tender and flaking and the sauce rich and delicately spiced from the herbs and spices. I chose to accompany the dish with Italian orzo, which is similar, albeit slightly larger, to rice in appearance, and found in Puglia in southern Italy. Equally a crusty loaf would work well with this dish, allowing for lots of dunking of the delicious juices.

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Greek Stifado

Adapted from ‘Broth by Vicki Edgson and Heather Thomas, published by Jacqui Small’

4 tbsp olive oil

600g round shallots, peeled

1.5kg lean stewing/chuck steak

4 garlic cloves, halved

125ml of red wine

500ml of beef bone broth

3 tbsp red wine vinegar

3 medium sized tomatoes chopped

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 bay leaf

2 sprigs of rosemary

1 cinnamon stick

3 allspice berries

2 tbsp raisins

salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

orzo pasta to serve – optional

  1. Heat the oil in a casserole pan – my Le Creuset is my trusted friend – and on a low heat cook the shallots for 10-15 minutes so that they begin to bronze. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Using the same pan, turn up the heat and add the beef  so that it browns all over.
  3. Then add the garlic and red wine and allow it to bubble away for a few minutes.
  4. Add the beef bone broth, wine vinegar, tomatoes, tomato puree, herbs and spices. Stir all the ingredients together well and then simmer for 1 hour OR place in a preheated oven at 140 degrees (I did the latter)
  5. Add the raisins and shallots and then continue cooking for a further 45-60 mins until the meat is tender and the sauce rich and reduced. Season to taste.

Edgerson and Thomas suggest serving with orzo pasta, which is a great idea. All in all it makes for a really wonderful, hearty dish that feeds the whole family.

 

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Broth by Vicki Edgson and Heather Thomas – Book Review Part 1

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I managed to lay my hands on an exciting new book that is hot hot hot off the press. From the title, front cover, recipes and photographs this was a book that I knew that I would instantaneously love. Broth by Vicki Edgson and Heather Thomas, published by Jacqui Small and photographed by Lisa Linder, does what it says on the tin. It shows the reader how to cook all manner of broths from ‘classic beef bone to ham hock, white fish bone to vegetable top and tail broth.

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Once you’ve decided which broth to prepare you can then use that broth in one of the many ‘soups, stews, sauces, casseroles, rice and grains’ recipes further on in the book.

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Simple but wonderfully user friendly. Unlike many of the cookery books being published at the moment Broth consists of 50 recipes (instead of the ubiquitous 100) with a photograph accompanying each recipe.  Joy of joys! There is enough to whet the appetite and to encourage you to try the recipes that having 50 as opposed to a 100 options is irrelevant.

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Now cooking broth is nothing new. I recall my grandmother and mother for that matter regularly preparing broths, or stocks as they are also called. Whist some are a labour of love not all take hours to prepare – chicken and white fish bone broths being a good example. In the last couple of years though  boiling your bones and making your own broth has become more talked about and dare I say ‘trendy’. This has been largely helped along by cooks such as the glamorous Hemsley sisters, whose motto is quite simply ‘boil your bones’.

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The reason for this upsurge in making our own broth is down to the healthy qualities and nutrients that are found within the bones themselves. Nutritionists (such as Edgson who has been a practicing nutritional therapist for over 20 years) have given the nod to the wider populous that bone broth is a tool for gut healing and giving us an inner glow or as Edgson and Thomas put it broths are ‘nutritional powerhouses that contain the building blocks of good health’. As such more and more of us are pausing before throwing away the chicken carcass and instead putting it in a deep pan along with some celery, onion, carrot, garlic, pepper, salt, a bay leaf and covered with water and then simmer for an hour or so and you will have a magnificent chicken broth packed full of nutrients for the body.IMG_9493

 So ‘Broth’ is both timely and a much needed book to help steer us with ideas once we have made the broth but are unsure of what to do with it. The first few chapters elaborate on the health benefits of broth and effectively set the scene, both concise and readable, they focus on the salient points keeping the interest of the reader.

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They have then created a chart which lists the nutrients, what they are required for and then coloured dots representing the different broths that the nutrients are in. Further on in the book the recipes then have one of two coloured dots, showing which broth is used in the recipe. This is a great idea, however I almost feel that one extra page outlining the broths and then which recipes correspond to that broth and the page of the recipe would have been helpful.

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I opted to make a combination of the classic beef bone broth and the rich marrow bone broth – the one on the right (although as you can see from the photo above I also had a white fish bone broth on the stove at the time). My butcher only had bone marrow and not T-bone or knuckle, otherwise I would have stuck pretty much to the classic beef bone recipe. A few differences I made were that I used red onions, leeks and bay leaves, as specified in the bone marrow broth but omitted the bouquet garni, although the fresh herbs that I added are pretty similar to a dried bouquet garni. I also did not add paprika/cayenne pepper.

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The result approximately 24 hours later was a delicious tasting broth. Part of the broth I used in a recipe that I will share with you next week from the very same book. It’s a good one so make sure to come back and visit then.

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I am curious on how many of my readers make their own broths already. Please please let me know by leaving a comment below. If you do make them, which ones do you typically make? For those who do not, have I convinced you to try making one? The book ‘Broth’ retails at £20 and I think is a great addition to your cookbook library, I am certainly glad it is part of mine. Our culture for the past couple of decades has been dominated by speedy, convenience foods but the realisation has set in that this is not good for our health and long term wellbeing – as seen by the rising rates of obesity and diabetes. We need to take a step back from our busy lives and invest time to create good nutritional food and preparing homemade broths is one way we can all do this for our families. They freeze well so separate them into a number of portions ready to use over the months ahead.

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(left is the white fish bone and the right is my bone marrow broth)

A combination of Classic Beef Bone and Bone Marrow Broth

adapted from Broth by Vicki Edgson and Heather Thomas 

Makes approx 1.2 litres/2 pints

1.6kg beef bones (if you can use T-bone or knuckle, if not bone marrow like mine)

2 celery sticks, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 medium red onions, chopped

2 leeks, chopped

3 bay leaves

1 mixed bunch of fresh thyme, sage and marjoram tied together by string

2.25 litres/4 pints water and more during the cooking

4 tbsp red wine vinegar or apple cider

freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/375 F/gas mark 5. Spread the bones out on a large roasting tray and cook in the oven for 45 minutes allowing the fat to drain out of the bones. Drain the fat and set aside.
  2. Place all the vegetables and bones in a large pan and cover with water so that the bones are completely covered.
  3. Bring the pan to the boil and then turn down and simmer for approximately 24 hours or longer if you can (the longer the broth the richer it will be). Make sure to turn off the pan at night for safety. You want to top up the water regularly to ensure it always covers the bones.
  4. Allow the broth to cool and then strain through a muslin and sieve into a large bowl. Then transfer to freezer proof storage containers. The broth will last for up to 5 days in the fridge and 5 months in the freezer.

Yes it takes time, but it is very easy to do as you can see.

 Note: I found marjoram hard to find so left it out. You can always replace the fresh herbs with a bouquet garni!


Book Review of Nikkei Cuisine – Japanese Food the South American Way by Luiz Hara

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Luiz Hara has been on my culinary radar for a couple of years now. Word has it that he runs THE most exquisite supper clubs from his town house in Islington focusing primarily on Japanese, Nikkei and French cuisine. I’ve been procrastinating for far too long so I will definitely get my skates on in 2016 and give Luiz’s supper clubs a go. He is also the man behind the successful food blog, ‘The London Foodie’, which focuses on food, wine and travel. Most recently however he has published his very first cookbook called ‘Nikkei Cuisine – Japanese Food the South American Way’. It sounds intriguing right?

Nikkei Cuisine £25

‘Above Image from Nikkei Cuisine: Japanese Food the South American Way by Luiz Hara. Photography by Lisa Linder. Published by Jacqui Small (£25).’

Nikkei cuisine is the cooking of the Japanese diaspora. Japanese immigrants often found themselves in countries that had very different cooking techniques and ingredients to what they were used to. They had to adapt to their new surroundings but at the same time wanted to continue using Japanese techniques and traditions. The resulting cuisine is called Nikkei. To say ‘fusion’ would be wrong and Luiz goes to great lengths in his introduction to explain Nikkei cuisine and how it is a very distinct cuisine in its own right. He explains “Nikkei cuisine is a byproduct of migration and adaption, created over 100 years ago in South America. It was a cuisine created out of necessity”.

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Outside Japan the highest contentration of Japanese live in South America, namely Brazil and Peru. It was in Brazil that Luiz’s family finally settled and became part of the Nikkei community. The cuisine has been part of his family history and is certainly no food fad. Luiz himself moved to London for university after which he worked in Finance in the city.  Much like myself he created his blog ‘The London Foodie’ as a creative outpost for this food thoughts and exploration. It was love of food and cuisine that they led him to quit his day job and embark on a new chapter in food. He trained at Le Cordon Bleu, where he graduated with the Grande Diplome in 2012. It was following his training and some time spent in Japan learning from the masters, that he then opened up his own home to friends and strangers by hosting his supper club. As well as continuing to this day with his supper club, he teaches cooking and writes in many national and overseas publications on the topic of food and travel.

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Which brings us to the book itself. To say that it is a feast for the eyes as well as the belly is a massive understatement. It’s colourful, bold and exciting.  It’s the type of book that is perfect for confident homecooks or for those who like to be pushed in their abilities. I recall some people grumbling over the ingredients lists of the hallowed books from the Ottolenghi empire, but for me this was a revelation and not something that phased me in the slightest. Luiz’s book must be treated with the same respect. Yes, it requires a bit of thought and forward planning, but with the help of some wonderful Oriental supermarkets in the UK and online, it is not too difficult to create the dishes. Luiz even lists a ‘directory of suppliers’ in the back of the book to help you if you are unsure where to buy certain ingredients. He also lists all the ingredients you may be unfamiliar with and gives an overview about each one.

‘Above Images from Nikkei Cuisine: Japanese Food the South American Way by Luiz Hara. Photography by Lisa Linder. Published by Jacqui Small (£25).’

The sound of the dishes coupled with the stunning photographs in the book (see above photos) really inspire you to try cooking these yourself. How about duck breast robata with pickled pearl onions and sancho pepper vinaigrette or salmon and passion fruit tiradito with crispy butternut squash and espelette pepper or Nikkei hotpot of pork belly, cod and seafood? Mouthwatering hey. Word of warning, never read this book if you are feeling hungry as it will make matters a whole lot worse believe me.

I decided to trial one of his recipes. Deciding which to go for was a hard job as they all looked so good. In the end I chose the ‘Aubergine, Pork and Rice Noodle Salad’ as most of the ingredients I had in my kitchen – I’m also partial to little pork mince from time to time. I kept pretty to close to his recipe with the few alterations being:

  1. The amount of pork I used. He said 300g and I used the whole pack of 500g. Unless you go to the butcher, most packets of pork mince in the UK are 500g, hence I decided to use the lot.
  2. I also used vegetable bouillon instead of Asian chicken stock. I went to Korea Foods and when I asked for Asian chicken stock the guy showed me what looked like a regular chicken stock but with Chinese writing all over it. This was probably the Asian chicken stock that Luiz was referring to but the packet was so large I decided that I would replicate it with my regular vegetable stock.
  3. I would recommend you suggest cooking the aubergine for  nearer 7 minutes as opposed to 5-6 as you want to make sure that the aubergine is properly soft inside.
  4. For speed I opted for ginger paste instead of fresh ginger!
  5. I used reduced salt soy sauce.

The recipe was really very straightforward and I would most definitely cook it again. Flavoursome, with great balances of salty and sweet with only a hint of chilli.

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Aubergine, Pork & Rice Noodle Salad

Serves 4

for the pork soboro:

2 tbsp sesame oil

500g pork mince

50ml sake

50ml mirin

100ml reduced salt soy sauce

2tsp ginger paste

2 tsp caster sugar

****

for the dressing:

1/2 tsp of vegetable stock powder (Asian chicken stock if you have it)

4 tbsp boiling water

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp caster sugar

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp finely chopped red chilli

2 tsp ginger paste

****

100g dried rice vermicelli noodles

1 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

sunflower oil for deep frying

2 aubergines

2 tsp toasted white sesame seeds

a sprinkle of shichimi pepper

  1. First start by making the pork soboro. Place the sesame oil in a pan and when it is hot add the pork mince and allow to brown in colour (this will take around 5 minutes) before adding all the rest of the ingredients in the list for the pork soboro. Cook on a medium heat for around 20 minutes or until all the liquid has evaporated. Leave to cool on one side.
  2. Cook the dried rice vermicelli noodles according to the packet and when cooked through, drain allowing cold water to run through the noodles. Add the fresh coriander to the noodles and place to one side.
  3. Next you need to make the dressing by adding all the ingredients together in a mixing jug. Place to one side.
  4. Using a pan  bigger enough to hold both aubergines gently heat up some sunflower oil. You want to fill the pan up to half way with the sunflower oil. Clean the aubergines and make a few delicate incisions into each aubergine to prevent them from bursting in the pan. Gently place the aubergine into the hot oil.
  5. Gently turn the aubergines over every minute and allow them to cook for 7 minutes.
  6. Get a large bowl of cold water (pop in some ice if you have any). When the aubergines have cooked for 7 minutes, plunge them into the iced cold water. They will immediately shrivel up.
  7. Once the aubergines have cooled, peel their skin. It will come away really easily.
  8. Now cut the aubergine lengthways so that you have 4 pieces. Take one aubergine section and cut it lengthways on the diagonal. Place both sections onto a serving plate.
  9. Place a portion of the noodles across the centre of the aubergine on the diagonal. Layer the pork soboro on top and finish off with some of the dressing, sesame seeds and shichimi pepper.

Luiz suggests eating it at room temperature, which I did. All the elements of the dish can be prepared in advance, which is always a bonus if you are entertaining.

Please don’t be put off by the lengthy ingredient list. From start to finish this dish will not take longer to prepare than 30 minutes. It really is very tasty indeed.

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