As Wairarapa continues to fail me in the provision of Malaysian food, I decided it was time to learn how to cook laksa.
The first experiment went well and the second was good enough that I thought I’d record it to help me iterate from there. I’ll be updating it as I get better at it, and I’m open to suggestions. (I’ve iterated a bit and I’m pretty happy with where this has got to.)
It’s not “authentic” but it was delicious.
Ingredients (serves 4)
4 tbsp cooking oil (canola)
4 heaped tbsp Exotic Foods Thai red curry paste (green is also ok)
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup cauliflower cut into small pieces
1 cup broccoli cut into small pieces
1 cup capsicum cut into small pieces
1 cup button mushrooms cut into quarters
3 tsp Sambal Extra Pedas chili sauce (or any other very hot chili)
Last year’s Christmas trifle was a bit disappointing. The sponge wasn’t quite right, it wasn’t moist enough, and no one really liked it that much. I decided that I wasn’t going to bother again.
But then I had an idea – Ginger Kiss Trifle! I’d already made ginger kisses once and liked them, and I thought they’d make a deliciously flavoursome base for the trifle.
This is less of a recipe and more a set of instructions that relies on other recipes. Therefore you won’t find a complete list of ingredients at the start, and it’s all a bit approximate. Oh, and it’s all vegan of course.
The Day Before
Step 1 – Make a double batch of these ginger kiss biscuits from The Vegan Apprentice. (You’ll make the icing the next day.)
Step 2 – Stew a couple of cups of fruit (rhubarb and apple was nice, but next time I’m going to try pear).
Step 3 – Make sure you have a can of coconut cream cooling in the fridge.
Step 4 – Make this caramel sauce from Jessica in the Kitchen and put it in the fridge to thicken.
My latest challenge has to been to develop a good vegan pizza – without the use of vegan cheese. Obviously it wasn’t going to be cheesy but I wanted it to have a combination of flavours and textures that satisfied my pizza appetite.
At the same time, I also want to document the cast-iron skillet + grill (US: broiler) technique I use to cook pizza these days.
– 250ml / 9 oz / 1 cup fortified soya milk (or other non dairy milk)
– 1 tsp fast action / easy bake yeast
– 2 tbsp sugar
– 2 tbsp neutral flavoured vegetable oil, such as rapeseed (canola)
– 500g / 17½ oz / 3½ cups plain (all purpose) flour
– 1 tsp salt
– 6 tsp mixed spice
– 200g / 7 oz / 1 packed cup sultanas or raisins
– 100g / 3½ oz / ½ cup Italian mixed peel
– Finely grated zest of 1 organic/unwaxed orange
-85ml / 3 fl oz / ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (or other fruit juice)
– 2 tbsp sugar
– 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice (or other fruit juice)
Gently heat the milk until it is lukewarm. Remove from the heat and whisk in the yeast and sugar. After a couple of minutes the yeast will start to froth.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, spices. Stir in the sultanas, citrus peel and orange zest. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and stir in the oil, yeast milk mixture, and orange juice. Bring together the ingredients using your hands. The dough should be soft and sticky. Depending on the type of flour used, you may need to add a little more liquid.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or so, until the dough is smooth. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp tea towel or oiled cling film (plastic wrap) and leave in a warm place for an hour or so until it has doubled in size. If your house is cool (like ours), cover with oiled foil and place in the oven at 40C / 100F for an hour.
When the dough has risen, knead for a further 10 minutes then divide into 12 or 15 equal size balls. To ensure that the buns are exactly the same size and bake evenly, I weigh the dough. My dough tends to weigh about 1.125kg, so I tear off 75g for medium size buns. Roll the dough into smooth balls and evenly space out on a large baking tray (28 x 40cm / 10 x 15”) lined with non stick baking paper. Cover with the damp tea towel, oiled cling film (plastic wrap) or foil and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes or so, until they have risen.
Heat the oven to 210C (190C fan) / 410F.
To make the crosses, mix 3 tbsp plain (all purpose) flour with 2 tbsp water to form a thick paste. Spoon into an icing bag with a thin nozzle (or a plastic freezer bag and snip the corner). Slowly pipe along each row of buns, then repeat in the other direction.
Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes on the middle shelf, until golden brown.
To make the glaze, gently boil the sugar and fruit juice in a small pan for about 5 minutes until it starts to thicken into a syrup. Brush over the buns while they’re still hot. Allow to set before serving. These buns are most delicious served warm or toasted.
The buns will last 2-3 days in an airtight container. They also freeze well. I tend to slice them in half before I freeze them so that they can be toasted without the need to defrost first.
This is a really simple vegetarian chilli that we make quite a bit. It is tasty with nachos, on rice, with baked potatoes, etc, etc.
It also freezes really well so we always have a few bags in the freezer ready for “Oh dear, what shall I cook?” dinners.
Think of this as a base and, if you follow these rough proportions, you can make all sorts of changes. Switch out one or more cans of kidney beans for black beans, add mushrooms or capsicum alongside the onions, do your own spicing, etc, etc.
Tablespoon of frying oil (canola, light olive oil, etc)