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. (Updates: changed coconut milk to the light version because it was too fatty, increased lime juice)
It’s not “authentic” but it was delicious.
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
2 tbsp cooking oil (canola)
3 tbsp Exotic Foods Thai red curry paste
1 tbsp crushed garlic
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
1 tsp Sambal Extra Pedas chili sauce
1.5 litre vegetable stock
2 tsp crushed ginger
400ml light coconut milk
500gm packet fresh noodles
250gm fried tofu puffs cut into quarters
3 tbsp lime juice
100gm mung bean sprouts
4 spring onions finely sliced
4 tbsp dried fried shallots (as garnish)
Heat up the wok to medium and add the oil
Add the red curry paste and garlic, and simmer it for a minute or two
Add the cauliflower, broccoli and capsicum and cook for couple of minutes
Add the mushrooms and chili sauce and cooking for another minute or two
Add vegetable stock, bring to simmer and cook for another couple of minutes
Add ginger, coconut milk and noodles and return to simmer
Finish off by adding fried tofu puffs, lime juice, bean sprouts, spring onions, making sure tofu puffs are properly submerged
Serve into noodle bowls and top with a tablespoon of dried fried shallots
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.
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)
So, as part of setting up our new kitchen I bought a nice combination sandwich press/griller. It makes a good toasted sandwich and I’m very happy with it… but it hasn’t been used as much as I expected because I stumbled upon an even better way to make them using the oven griller.
This recipe for a tuna toasted sandwich is an example of the technique. It can easily be modified for any fillings you like although I recommend keeping the tapenade no matter what else you change!
Ingredients (per sandwich)
Turkish bread (ideally not the Quality Baker brand – it’s very dense)
1/2 small can of lemon-pepper tuna, drained
About 1/2 tbsp tapenade (recommend Genoese brand)
About 1tbsp basil pesto (recommend Genoese brand)
Half a tomato, thinly sliced
Small amount of grated mozzarella cheese
Handful of lettuce
1. Turn on your oven’s griller (I think this is the broiler in US-speak)
2. Cut the bread into sandwich sized sections
3. Carefully slice the bread to separate the top and bottom
4. Lightly toast the outer sides of the bread (careful, it doesn’t take long)
5. Spread pesto on bottom piece of bread
6. Spread tapenade on the top piece
7. Put the tomatoes on the bottom
8. Spread the tuna on top of the tomato
9. Put the cheese on top of the tapenade
10. Place back under the grill (again, it doesn’t take long)
11. Remove from the grill (to assist you with getting it just right, I carefully cooked the one in the picture one a little bit too much)
12. Put the lettuce on
13. Put the sandwich together and eat
I never used to like sushi, but yesterday I was sitting at work scoffing my prawn and avocado rolls and reflecting on how my tastes have changed over the years. (If anyone feels an urge to tell me that I’m using the term sushi incorrectly because blah, blah, blah – please don’t.)
I started making a list of foods I’ve learnt to like, and then I realised that the learning came in two clear phases. The first I started liking as a teen, the second happened after I reach adulthood.
The Teenage Years
* Chocolate mousse
I note that my parents thought it was a sad day when I started liking mushrooms and asparagus – it meant there was less for them!
The Gourmet Adult
* Feta cheese
And then there’s the foods that other people love but I still just don’t get.
* Blue cheese (although I’m getting there)
I’m sure there’s a bunch I’ve missed. Anyone else finally seen the light on something?