Thursday, 26 April 2012

Veggie soba noodle soup.

Last week was crazy. No exaggeration. One of my two dissertations, a 15 minute documentary, was due last Thursday meaning I was literally chained to an editing booth at university for the entirety of the week. In all honesty I don’t think I had a real meal for about 48 hours over Wednesday and Thursday. Again. No exaggeration. Wednesday night saw a dinner of  a multi-bag of salt and vinegar chipsticks and an energy drink. Things were bad.

My body however was only on the road to further destruction with the celebration of my 21st birthday on Friday night. Needless to say by Sunday after I’d finally sobered up I was feeling rather fragile and in need of some nourishment.

This is one of those things that you eat and just know it’s doing you good, its like the cure-of-all chicken noodle soup but japanese-y, with a good kick of chili to clear out your sinuses. It’s very economical and because you cook everything in the broth you don’t loose any of the  good for you stuff  in the veggies. Plus it’s probably the easiest thing I’ve ever made.

Serves 2

2 bundles soba noodles
1 carrot, cut into battons
handful of sugar snap peas
1 onion, sliced
½ red pepper, sliced
thumb sized piece of ginger, cut into matchsticks
1 fat garlic clove, chopped
½ red chili, sliced
1 good quality veggie stock cube
½ tsp toasted sesame oil
lime juice
soy sauce

Literally throw everything apart from the lime, soy and sugar in a pan and cover with cold water.

Bring it up to the boil and simmer until the noodles are cooked, you want the veggies with a bit of bite left in them

Now add the last three ingredients to taste until it works for you, ladle into big bowls and nourish yourself.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Thai Sweet Corn fritters and Tom Ka Soup.

This is two components of a sharing platter at one of my favorite Brighton restaurants the vegetarian mecca that is Food for Friends. I bought my dad the cookbook a while back after he took me there for lunch and have been DYING to cook these recipes eversince.

Him, my sister and myself went to a friend’s for Easter Sunday lunch and we were asked to proved the starter and this is what we (meaning I) put together.

It is SO worth finding your way down to a local Asian food market and getting yourself the fresh kaffiar lime leaves, lemongrass, galangal and tom ka paste. It really adds a freshness and vibrancy to the final product that you will never get from the freeze dried varieties you can get from Waitrose etc.

Also I apologize for the quality of the photos – I’d left the camera I usually use in Brighton so was reduced to using my sister’s iPhone.

Adapted from the food for friends cookbook:

Serves 6

For the soup:

2 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 sticks of lemon grass, outer leaves removed and chopped
25g galangal or ginger, chopped
1 red chili chopped
1 small white onion, chopped
1 small bunch of coriander, leaves and stalks chopped
30g green curry paste
70ml water
1 veg stock cube
1 tin coconut milk
1 tblsp tom ka paste
3 tbsp tamari
50g palm sugar
2 kaffir lime leaves
juice 1 lime
handful coriander leaves

In a pan heat some oil and sweat off the onion, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, chili and coriander.

When that is soft, add the water, curry paste and stock cube, simmer for 15 minutes then ass the coconut milk and tom-ka paste.

After 15 minutes further simmering add the rest of the ingredients, mix well and blend until smooth.

Serve with a final squeeze of lime and scattered with black roasted sesame seeds.

For the fritters:

2 sticks of lemongrass, outer leaves removed and  bruised
4 tsp of ginger/galangal
3 cloves of garlic
4 kaffir lime leaves
small bunch of coriander
1 tblsp thai green curry paste
juice 1 lime
salt and pepper
600g fresh sweet corn, lightly steamed.
2 tbsp sugar
1 egg, beaten
a little plain flour

In a processor wiz up the first 8 ingredients then tip into a large bowl with the sweet corn, egg, seasoning and enough flour to create a very stiff batter:

In some vegetable oil fry dollops of the mixture, flattening them out a bit and only flipping when they have had enough time to properly set and brown on the first side:

Drain on kitchen paper and serve with a garnish of julienne of carrots, spring onions, green mango, and toasted cashews drizzled with some lime juice.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Basil, Mint and Pea Carbonara.

Now we all know I love my carbs. Bar home baked, really good, crusty bread, my favorite has to be pasta.

Fresh, dried, baked however it comes I will consume it by the bucketful. A housemate of mine actually gave up pasta for lent and I just don’t know how she did it (she caved earlier this week in the supermarket when faced with filled tortellini), but the period of time she managed for I must say was commendable, truly! I, on the other hand refused to give anything up for lent. Attempting to cut out anything of my diet would definitely result in my demise. I therefore pre-empted this failure by not bothering at all. Whoops.

This is one of my favorite pasta dishes, I think I originally got it from my Dad, where I get most of my cooking inspiration, who got it from a Jamie Oliver book. Adding chopped basil with the mint was my own prerogative and I think it works well but obviously leave it out if you don’t fancy it.

I’m going to do the lazy thing today and simply provide a link to the recipe on the Jamie Oliver website - my dissertation has literally pushed me to the cusp of insanity and I think staring at a computer screen for any longer may actually send me proper loopy, apologies.