Friday, 29 June 2012

Fruit Ice Creams

I'm not really a creamy/chocolatey pudding person.
Don't get me wrong, I'll eat either if they're there, but, given the choice, my preference is for the Fruity Dessert (or actually, even better, just the fruit).
All this means that, when I saw the fruit theme for this month's BSFIC, I was beside myself with glee. Or something.

I make a mean strawberry ice cream, and also a pretty awesome blueberry, so I knew I'd be able to do something good.

However, when it came to it, I was feeling quite inspired from my visit to Suda Thai, and also by a weird can of mango puree which had been languishing in my cupboard for well over a hundred years (give or take), so I thought I'd go for a mango and chilli sorbet.

I'd also been talking about attempting custard/ice cream with coconut milk instead of milk/cream, so that was my second scoop option.

And, just for completeness, and because three is clearly better than two, I completed the look with a lime sorbet.

I made the mango sorbet by blending together the ancient mango puree, some real mango, lemon juice and some mint and chilli. Oh, and gin, obviously (actually quite handy to stop it freezing too hard).
I then chucked it into the ice cream machine and churned till nice and sorbetish.

For the coconut milk ice cream, I made my usual custard recipe, but substituted coconut milk for the milk/cream. It came out a slightly weird colour, but tasted utterly delicious. In fact, it can only have been luck that there was any left to churn at all.

For the lime sorbet, I squeezed a million (ok, about 8) limes, which gave me about 250ml juice.
I made a simple sugar syrup of 400mls water, 400mls sugar and the zest of three of my limes. I mixed it all together, with some imaginary gin (turns out we'd finished the real gin) and churned the mixture till frozen.

Et voila, tropical fruity threesome!

I was really pleased with all three - the coconut is creamy and rich and the mango is fruity, chilliey and minty, but the lime is the real revelation - it took nearly no time to make, and was really really delicious.
Once I've finished this batch, I shall definitely be making it again.

This was supposed to be my entry for Kavey's June Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream, but, as ever, I am a little bit behind. Still - better late than never, I guess :-)

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Mangoes, Mangoes, Mangoes...

A few weeks ago (ok - probably more like a month, in reality), I was invited to a mango based meal and masterclass at Suda Thai, near Covent Garden, in celebration, I believe, of Mango Month, 2012.

I'm pretty sure I'd not have known about the Month otherwise, but I like mangos (or mangoes - apparently either is correct - I'm finding it hard to decide), Thai food and going out, so I was happy to give it a go...

It was a hot hot day, and the mango, chilli and mint shots that we were welcomed with really hit the spot.

I was very pleased to note the table-cows,

Eat the little snack boats (mango, avocado and prawn hand rolls),

And throw back a couple of mango/amaretto cocktails, which were really delicious!

Kessuda Raiva (the executive VP of the group that owns Suda Thai as well as other restaurants in Thailand and the UK) led a demonstration of a pair of mango based Thai dishes - a green mango salad (see bottom of post for recipe) and a sticky rice dessert with mango, which has been much blogged already (here and here for example...), both of which I've made at home since, which I'm pretty sure is the sign of a successful masterclass.


The expert at work

 Rather amazing mango slicing skills

The finished salad (yum mamuang pal krob - green mango salad with crispy fish)

Super cool rice steaming gadget

The sticky rice pudding (kao view mamuang) - everyone's favourite

And then, as a reward for all our Hard Watching Work, we ate a very large amount of mango based Stuff.

I should say now that I have no idea at all whether any of this was remotely authentic or not - I've never been anywhere near Thailand, but I am happy to report that it was all very tasty, some of it really outstanding.
There was some amazing grilled seafood on sticks (everything tastes better on a stick, I'm sure you'll agree, but this would have been lovely even if it had just been on a boring old plate) and various really good vegetable and salad dishes.
I'd definitely go back, particularly if I were in the area or after pre/post theatre - it seems pretty reasonably priced and the food and drinks were very pleasing :-)

Here's my home attempt at the sticky rice - I used black glutinous rice (because it's pretty), which turns out to be a bit less sticky and absorbent than the white, though really not much.
Less beautiful than the masterclass version, but still tasty!

So - here's the salad (I've also made this a couple of times, minus the fish, and am dubiously happy to report that the dressing is extremely addictive - don't say you weren't warned).

Yum Mamuang Pla Krob
(Green Mango Salad with Crispy Fish).

- 1/2 cup SR flour
- 200ml vegetable oil
- 50g fillet of sea bass
- 60g grated green mango
- 1 tbsp roasted chilli paste (nam prik pao)
- 1.5 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tbsp cashew nuts
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tbsp palm sugar
- 1 tbsp finely sliced shallots
- 1 red chilli, seeded and sliced
- mint leaves to garnish


- Thinly slice the sea bass into pieces and coast with flour.
- Heat the oil in a deep, heavy bottomed pan (until a breadcrumb sizzles and browns when dropped in - you know the drill).
- Fry fish bits in batched for 2-3 minutes until crisp and golden.
- Drain on kitchen paper.

- Put fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar into a bowl and stir until dissolved.
- Add the shallots and chilli and mix well.
- Pour over the grated mango and scatter the cashew nuts and mint.

To serve:
- Put the salsa on a serving plate and place the crispy fish on top.
- Serve cold.
- Eat.

It should look like the picture above.
Tragically, my efforts remain unphotographed (due to the whole computer/iPhoto fiasco), but please feel free to imagine that it looks just as awesome in every way.

With thanks to Suda Thai and Alix at ME:MO Interactive for the meal and masterclass.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Excuses etc

Hello everyone.

Apologies for the massive lack of bloggery recently - as previously observed, I've been having a horrible time with my laptop.
It's a bit ancient, I think, which does't help, but it's been really buggy recently - I've done at least two clean installs of the OS and more repairs etc than I can quantify.
It seems to have done the trick for the time being (still odd but working, at least), so, fingers crossed, I should be able to go back to sharing my every scintillating meal with you again - no, no - don't thank me...

I've lost a load of recent photos, so I'll not bore you with a massive catch up, but here's a wee taste of what's been going on here recently.

Eggs and asparagus with a kind of romesco sauce - I really love the peppery, nutty, olive oily romesco thing. I'm sure mine is very inauthentic, but it tastes lovely - I'm a bit obsessed at the moment.

Pork mince (again - we've had a lot of this recently, in a variety of formats - makes a change from the usual beef) with amazing garlicky mushrooms and more asparagus (have to make the most of it while we can).

This was whole lot more delicious than it looked - gratinated chard-and-other-cabbagey-stuff and slightly breaded haddock.
Really really good, despite horror of photo.

Aperol spritz at the RAH yesterday. I know I'm a bit late to this party, but yum - delicious. I need more of these in my life.
Possibly in non plastic glasses.

And finally - last night's tea. Stir fried pork fillet, made not by me, but by husband, so tasting twice as good. He has decided that it's time to reinstitute his Weekly Cooking Day.
I am very happy about this!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Long Time, No Blog

I used to post most of my bad blog food pictures from my iPhone, but a couple of months ago, the app that I use stopped working again (for about the fourth time) and I've lost the will to sort it out.

At the same time, my poor old laptop has been getting slower and more painful. Last Friday I managed to kill it entirely.
Since then, I have managed to (at least temporarily) revive it and have pretty much recovered everything, with the possible exception of my last three years worth of email (apologies if I was meant to reply to you about anything).

Anyway - this clearly calls for a large and non detailed catchup, so here we go.

Spicy pork bits with sweet potato (and coconut milk - yum) mash and chilli cucumber salad.

Mackerel based lunch salad.

A mince.

Some prawns.

And the same prawns again, but with an asparagus garnish. Or possibly the other way round.

Something a bit like larb (laab), made with pork mince. Delicious. I mustn't forget how nice something as easy as this can be.

And again with a distinctly un-Thai salad.

We went to God Save the Clam in the rain at the weekend and ate and drank tasty things in a beach hut on a roof. Awesome.
Lunchtime tequila and lemonade.

Chorizoey starter.

A handy, though entirely small and inadequate, freshening wipe.

Finger cleaning bucket and one for the empties.

Enormous bucket o'stuff.
You can't really tell from this, but it really was big. Two of us ate this. TWO.

A delicious crawfish (or crayfish). I ate him and a lot of his family.

Another crawfish, doing a Venus impression. The clams were huge. I have never seen clams so big.

And pudding. The Fat Elvis. Peanut butter ice cream, with crispy croutons, bacon bits, baconny butterscotch sauce and frozen grapes.
I shall be trying to recreate this at home really very soon.

And finally, the famous PittCue pickleback. My first one ever. I loved it every bit as much as someone like me would be expected to.
Very pleasing.

Back to real life - poached egg and beetroot salad.

Leftover chicken (no idea how I managed not to photograph the original chicken - a magnificent 100 day old hen from the Ginger Pig) with a sort of Romesco sauce.

The classic eggsparagus.

And finally, a great big trout with salad and lemon and chilli dressing.

Fingers crossed the computer will stay mended - I have more (and more interesting) things to tell you over the next few days.