I recently visited a cooking school in the city of Hoi An in Vietnam (while on holiday, I didn't go to Vietnam ONLY for the cooking school!). While the day seemed more about a tour of the markets and food related entertainment (perhaps I should bring this approach to my cooking school) - we did get a few cooking gems out of them!
One of them is a very simple claypot dish you can make with a clay/earthenware or flame proof casserole dish, placed on your stove:
- turn on the heat and add 3 tbs peanut oil and put in 2 cloves chopped garlic
- finely chop up the white part of a stick of lemongrass. Put in the chopped white part and keep the green stick
- Roughly chop a tomato and put it in - stir all this around with your chopsticks as the tomato turns to a pulp (at least 3 min)
- add a teaspoon of curry powder (or 1/2 tumeric and 1/2 ground corriander), stir through and add a eggplant, chopped into large (2cm) cubes
- Add 1 tsp sugar, a cup of water and cover & simmer for 5 min
- take the lid off and add 2 tbs fish sauce, some 5cm long stems of spring onions and cook a final 2 min uncovered
- Serve sprinkled with cilantro and with white rice on the side
Decided to take an adventure into modern hong kong cuisine last night by cooking up fish & vegies in a spicy XO sauce! Wow! What an amazing, luxurious flavor the XO provides. My next step is to try to create the sauce myself, not buy a jar of it! :-)
Whether you're observing a family, religious or culinary tradition by eating fish on good friday, here's a fantastic recipe that's very easy and turns out wonderfully with any type of fish fillet!
You'll need some fish, milk, eggs, flour, butter and some white wine.
Put a dish with some flour in it to one side and then whip up an egg with some milk in another (as though you're getting ready to crumb schnitzels, only without the crumbs).
Turn on a pan with a heat resistant handle and put some butter in there.
Dip each piece of fish in the flour, then the eggwash, then put it into the sizzling butter in the pan. After a minute or 2, flip the fillets and give them another minute or two. Squeeze some lemon, over the fish, then pour a cup of wine into the pan.
Put the whole pan into the oven (at about 180) and cook for 10-20 min.
Serve with potatoes, salad and the juices from the pan! absolutely amazing for good friday!
...coming soon. But here's a sneak peak at the type of thing we'll be cooking up at the school. The main aim of this cooking class is to give you the confidence to cook finger food for a cocktail party at home. We'll do about 6-7 varieties of cocktail that "fit together" - some you can make in advance and serve cold, some you can put in the oven and serve, and others you assemble before serving. Getting this "mix" right ensures you can enjoy the party too, not spend your time being chained to the stove!
Nothing better than a good carbonara and I think many places don't do it justice. This is the way to cook the MOST flavorsome carbonara, which is guaranteed to impress your friends (honestly, a guarantee. Leave me a comment below if it fails to impress):
Do your shopping and make sure you have:
3-4 rashers of bacon
300ml of cream at least
spaghetti (about 250g)
1/2 cup white wine
dried or fresh oregano
broccoli or chopped spring onions (optional)
2 cloves garlic
1/ put a pot of water on to cook the pasta and put the pasta in when it's boiled (about 250g is perfect for 2 people so if it's a 500g pack, split it in 2)
2/ chop up the bacon and put it in a hot frying pan to start sizzling it (no oil needed here)
3/ once it's starting to brown, add the white wine and stir all the bits from the base of the pan. cook this until it no longer smalls like booze (about 30 sec)
4/ add the cream, then add a pinch of salt, some pepper, crushed garlic, oregano, a tsp of butter and let it simmer for at least 5 min (stir and taste to make sure you haven't forgotten anything)
5/ if you are adding broccoli or spring onions, add them about 2 min before the pasta is ready
6/ when the pasta is cooked and strained, you can add it to the sauce and start mixing through. then add a handfull of parmesan and crack an egg. keep mixing to cook the egg and coat the pasta all over.
7/ serve with more parmesan
you can add some water to the sauce if it's starting to look too dry during step 4.
Remember - the egg and cheese (step 6) will really dry up the sauce, so if it's on the soupy side, that's just fine!
serve with garlic bread, and or salad.