About Red Curry and the new Mortar & Pestle…

Red Curry Paste

 

We’re back in town! For the travel stories, ok…I skipped writing about Singapore and Indonesia because 1) Singapore doesn’t have the “asian” charm and not really Culinary worth writing a lot about, except it’s pricey and we didn’t spend enough time to discover the “real food” 2) Indonesia was postcard beautiful, so we spent our days on beaches,in the sea and on funny islands.
What I missed the most (together with friends and family of course) was having a proper kitchen!
So here we are, with a Thai recipe. Sure it doesn’t taste exactly like their red curry but it was a fair attempt.
If you’re not interested in having your face covered with splashes of Chili (Auch!) or chunks of Galangal root use a blender or buy ready made curry paste, honestly it tastes great too but nothing beats the pride of  serving a dish made from scratch.

Here we go:

For the red curry paste:

3 red Chili’s (dried if you like it Hot!) // 2 cloves of garlic // 2 shallots// 3 cm of fresh ginger// 3 cm of Galangal// 2 tbsp of Coriander seeds// 1 stalk of lemon grass// 2 tbsp of tomato puree//

For the stew:

8 Chicken thighs// 4 Lime leaves // 1 L of Coconut milk// 1 red bell pepper// Green beans// 3 tomatoes// 3 potatoes// 1 tsp of salt// Chicken stock// 1 shallot // 3 carrots 

For the vegetables, just add whatever you like. No rules except 2 if you use tomato or pepper remove their peel and chop everything into large chunks.Heat up vegetable oil or coconut oil and add chopped shallot and boneless chicken thighs. Add the curry paste and stir until it starts to brown then add coconut + vegetables.
Let it reduce until you have the desired flavor, in this recipe I used 1 L of coconut milk which is a lot but it gives you the freedom of serving it like soup or a bit more reduced (which i prefer, the flavor is more intense)

An excellent recipe when serving a crowd, you can make the paste days in advance and keep in the fridge or in ice cube holders in your freezer.
Serve with multigrain rice and finish off the curry with fresh Coriander.

Thai Red Curry

รับประทานอาหาร
( Bon Appetit in Thai, if you can read thai and it means something dirty, sorry I used Google translate😉  )

xxx
Marie

Part III // About eating Pho and getting to know Ho Chi Minh

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Vietnam: where to start.A country with a rocky past, one could call it history but after all this happened not that long ago. Whether it were the French, the Americans or other, they sure didn’t go down easy… Arriving in Hanoi, we were stunned with the beauty of it, the french architecture still lingers but they seem to have made it into their own Northern Capital. The City is bursting with life, streetfood and motorcycles. A very odd thing about Vietnam is… they eat on tiny chairs?! Not just one, every single chair in Hanoi is midget size.
Travelling to Hoi An a couple of days later, things kept on getting better. Danang isn’t pretty, unless you like a coastline with freshly built luxury hotels? Hoi An on the other hand was gorgeous, the old fisherman’s town has been kept more or less authentic. Markets full of fresh fish and delicious fruit & vegetables.
Arriving in Ho Chi Minh City… Hanoi is “supposed” to be the capital of Vietnam. This is where you see (my humble opinion) the traces History left, communism was very much alive in Hanoi- the North, a little truck filled with 6 police officers came to close Bars at 24H, communist songs on speakers at 6. Ho Chi Minh, the former democratic South. on the other hand again a beautiful city but without comparison to Hanoi. Skyscrapers,Starbucks, Hyatt Hotels and other Western influences.

What to do in Vietnam:

North:

  • Visit Halong Bay, absolutely stunning.
  • Follow a Cooking Class at Orchid Restaurant in Hanoi (recipes follow when I’m back in the kitchen)
  • The old Bridge
  • Visit the markets, more authentic than their southern fellows.

Danang & Hoi An

  • Ride the Hai Van Mountain Pass by Scooter (ok, Mathias was right… )
  • On the road to Hai Van there is the statue of The Godess of Mercy, very impressive.
  • Take a walk in the old centre of Hoi An
  • Visit the Marble Coves, just outside Danang.
  • Try to escape the resorts and eat local food at a deserted Beach.
  • Best Pho is in Danang, don’t go looking for it on main roads.

Ho Chi Minh City

  • Visit the Independence Palace, better than the war rememnants museum
  • Have a drink in Apocalypse Now, watch and see how East & West meet😉
  • Visit the old Journalist spot at the Rex Hotel

If I can give you 1 good advice,visit Vietnam NOW. Don’t waste any time, the authenticity still lingers but is slowly taken over by Western influences, again…

 

 

 

  Next Post: Singapore!

Marie & Mathias

 

Part II // About leaving Thailand, entering Cambodia and leaving again…

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Day 18 and a lot of adventures later…

Leaving beloved Thailand (Koh Chang)  into Phnom Penh( Cambodia) by Bus was probably not the best idea we ever had.
Not only did it take us 14H but crossing the border and applying for a Cambodian Visa by land already gave us a clear view on what Cambodia is all about…
Consider the term: a tip. Something I always considered to be money you give someone because you were grateful and  happy with the service they provided.
Cambodian tip= a suggestion that is made to tip + the amount that tip should be.  5$ tip in a country where a pack of cigarettes cost $1 is ridiculous.
This isn’t a rage against Cambodia, if we had more time we would have gladly discovered Cambodia further. We only experienced this behaviour at the tourist places. ( Floating villages by boat,land borders, airport, Siem Reap, Tuk Tuk’s )
Phnom Penh was a great experience, genocide museum & killing fields worth visiting, food was great and Angkor Temples absolutely stunning!
Just a bit frustrated that as a tourist, they just won’t leave you alone, everyone is very welcome to try ( otherwise, what’s the point of having tourists?) but please don’t keep on insisting…

Goooood Morning Vietnam!!  Here we are in Hanoi, a city that breathes History, checked out the market straight away and it sure looks great!!
Food is absolutely delicious, I repeat: eat streetfood, point something out on their menu and be surprised!

We’ll be back with more adventures!!

xxx

Marie

Bangkok// Part I of a Culinary Journey

floating market

Here we are, Bangkok. The city that took our hearts away from the first Green Tea Latte we had upon arrival.
Sure, it’s busy (which is an understatement) but if there is one thing striking about this City… the smell.
You can smell food from the moment you step one foot on Thai soil. And that’s what Bangkok is all about: food.
To give you one example: “Plastic Bag Housewife”. A term that describes housewives in Bangkok. They simply never cook, why would you? Every step you take there’s a food cart, food stall ready to take you away with flavours you’ve never experienced.

I must say, at first I was a bit sceptic. Food carts,street dogs, the odd rat, hot temperatures and raw chicken. The nightmare of any HACCP inspector but it works, and how! 4 days later, ate Delicious food and not a single rumble in the stomach!
Flavours are extraodinary! There is one mystery: how do they get their meat so juicy and tender?

What to do when visiting Bangkok:

  • Bangrak Food Tour
  • Floating Market
  • Eat the real Peking duck in Chinatown
  • Visit Maeklong Train station
  • Feast away on the food carts/stalls!

Check whenspoonmeetspot on Instagram for the best experience of a market one could wish for..( sorry couldn’t upload the video)

Next stop Cambodia!

x

Legendary Lamb Stew // ChickPea Salad//

Lamb Stew

If you could serve me one dish every day, my grandma’s Lamb Stew would be it. Full delicious flavours, yum!
Although I’ve never been able to make it taste just like she does even with the exact recipe…
Isn’t that the most fascinating thing about cooking?
As I never managed to get the exact same taste, some adjustments were made into a more “oriental” version.
When making a stew, you will need parts of meat that melt in your mouth, meat close to the bone.
In this case cut up the parts of lamb shoulder.
Again, stews are very hard to screw up. You have plenty of time to add some wine// tomato puree etc. and you can make it the day upfront, the day after it tastes even better!

1 lamb shoulder, diced//  2 onions// 2 cloves of garlic// real butter//+ 500 gr Passata// 2 cups of dry white wine//
Coriander// 2 tsp of Curry Powder// Pepper+Salt// 2 tbsp of Tomato Puree// A pinch of Sugar//

Brown the meat in plenty of butter, add garlic and onions. Add white wine and all other ingredients. Leave for at least 1h on Medium heat. You will see when the sauce starts to thicken.

For the Chickpea salad:

Chickpeas// cucumber // Chopped Chili// Mint // Olive Oil// Pepper+ Salt// Crumbled Feta Cheese//

+
Tortillas on the grill

I can’t take compare this to my Gran’s legendary Lamb Stew, it’s different. But it has the same base🙂

Enjoy with a glass of :

Chateau La Négly

Château La Négly- La Côte- €8.99 @Crombé

Enjoy!!

xxx
Marie

Halloween Pumpkin Salad

pumpkin salad

Personally I’m not a big Halloween lover, commercial nonsense that make children’s blood sugar levels rise to unknown heights.
But what I do like are pumpkins! Delicious meaty orange goodies but why didn’t they make them square shaped?
You can easily recreate a Halloween Horror fest by trying to cut their peels off…
That’s why for your own safety, it’s better to roast them with their peels on🙂 .
This salad has it all, sweet , sour, salty ,earthy flavours.

1 small pumpkin// fresh spinach // pumpkin seeds// feta cheese // garlic// sage // salt and pepper

for the vinaigrette:

1 cooked beetroot// raspberry vinegar// 2 tsp of sour cream// a pinch of cumin // salt and pepper

Heat up your oven to 200°C and roast slices of pumpkin together with garlic and sage leaves for 20 minutes. Season your pumpkin before roasting.
Heat up a skillet and roast pumpkin seeds, keep an eye on them because the roast very fast.
Rinse fresh spinach leaves several times.

For the vinaigrette, blend all the ingredients together and taste.

Combine all ingredients together and crumble some feta cheese over it all.

Enjoy!!

xxx

Marie

Multigrain Rice// Mung Bean Sprouts// Pear// Ground Beef…

Mung Bean dish

I have to admit I’m not a rice lover ( Sushi, paella, risotto- yes please!).  Generally, and especially here in our European countries, rice in restaurants is served as “hey, salmon goes with rice, let’s pop some unseasoned Uncle Ben’s on a plate”.
Not that bad if you do add flavour to it, try multigrain rice (add least it gives you some bite) and instead of salt, use soy sauce and sesame oil.
My husband would say -how strange it is to refer to Mathias as “the husband” happy strange though – WHAT IS YOUR OBSESSION WITH KOREAN FOOD?!
Dunno really, I just love it. Lovely ingredients that make spicy,healthy, garlicy and tasty dishes.

Rice:

// 250 gr multigrain rice// 1/4 cup soy sauce// a good splash of sesame oil// 250gr Mung bean Sprouts// 300gr of pure minced beef// 1 spring onion//
1 chopped pear// hot pepper flakes// 

seasoning sauce:

2 cloves of chopped garlic// 1/4 cup soy sauce// 2 spring onions// 1/2 chopped onion// 1 tsp hot pepper flakes// roasted sesame seeds// 1/4 cup of soybean paste//

Steam mung bean sprouts for 3 minutes, cook rice according to package instructions, mix rice with soy sauce, hot pepper flakes, sesame oil and cooked minced meat.

Mix everything together for the seanoning sauce.

Serve in a big plate and enjoy!

xxx
Marie

Let’s go Freekeh!

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Bulgur, Freekeh,Quinoa are all these trendy new Super Grains. Yes,they are delcious and no, if you follow a Snickers/ Hamburger/ Sprite diet they won’t make you healthier. ( With this I just express my frustration with the word superfood, ofcourse I love Burgers, Snickers & Sprite!)

Freekeh// Kale// Cucumber// Pomegranate seeds// cucumber// chickpeas// Ground cumin// Salt// Black Pepper// Mint// Coriander// Greek Yoghurt// Olive Oil// Lemon// Garlic

Marinate thinly cut chicken filets in a plastic bag with olive oil, lemon juice and crushed garlic, refrigerate for several hours.
Rinse and cook your freekeh according to package instructions, chop up cucumber and kale and add to freekeh.
Try to dismember half a pomegranate without ruining kitchen and clothes.
Make a yoghurt sauce by chopping up mint, coriander and adding rock salt and black pepper.
This week/month’s revelation are fried chickpeas, Must Try!!
Fry small quantities of chickpeas at a time, this makes sure your frying oil doesn’t cool down too fast.
When fried (about 2 min) roll in a plate of fine salt and ground cumin.
Grill your chicken filets!

The key to a good salad is seasoning! Taste!

Bon Appétit!

Linguine al Vongole & Colutta’s Pinot Grigio

Linguine al Vongole

We’re back with one of the easiest, fast and most delicious recipe’s!
For the less experienced cooks: this is very hard to mess up. There are just a few basic rules you need to consider.

 

  • Rinse , rinse , rinse and rinse again. What you can do is stick your knife into the shells, this will open them and make sure all sand is gone.
  • Cook your pasta 2 minutes less than stated on the package, when you add the pasta to the shells they will cook further and we don’t want soggy pasta, do we?!

 

You see, the list is not that long😉

1 kg of Vongole// 500 gr dry linguine // 1/2 Chili // Flat leaf parsley// Colutta Pinot Grigio //
200gr Full fat cream // 1tbsp of fish stock powder.

Cook your Pasta according to package instructions -2 min. Rinse your shells several times in cold salty water.
Heat up plenty of olive oil and add your shells, open your delicous Pinot Grigio and always apply basic rule : taste a glass while cooking🙂  and add a good splash to your shells as well. 
Leave the lid on for 2 minutes, shake and leave to heat until you see that all the shells have opened.
Add the cream and fish stock; shake again and add your pasta.
To finish off, some flat leaf parsley and chopped chili.

Voilà!

 

This wine goes very well with all shellfish, crisp,fresh and full flavours is just what you need with this dish.
100% Pinot Grigio grapes, not oaked.

No need in saying, available @Crombé

 

 

 

Colutta

Colutta Pinot Grigio – €12.90

 

I can’t recommend this dish enough when inviting friends over, it is maybe 10 minutes of concentration but it’s well worth it!!

Buon appetito!!

 

xxx

Marie