After nearly 6 months since my last entry here, I’ve embarked on some challenging new adventures. Before they all disappear into memory of bits and pieces in my head, I thought I’d better get on with updating my blog. To be honest, I find writing a blog or a diary (though I have NO idea when I last wrote a diary!) is quite a challenge. I have mentioned this to friends who are also in the same boat and we all feel and think: “Who would be interested in reading a constant bombardment of your life story?” But then there are times when you have so much you want to tell and share that you’re glad you have a medium to do that. From me, for most of it, it would be anything relating to food that I’ve experienced myself. Be it recipes, restaurants, food news, travelling looking for memorable food, etc.
So here goes…
In November last year, I held my second noodle cooking demonstration which was well attended and hopefully has encouraged everyone to practice the recipes at home. Cooking noodles can be done very quickly, or they can be as elaborate as you want them to be. Most people would make them as a quick meal for family, especially when there are hungry children around. Asian fast food, if you like.
To book a noodle cooking demo for 10 people, please drop me a line in the box provided at the bottom of this page.
A selection of ingredients I use to rustle up noodle dishes
Prior to the Christmas rush, a group of 12 booked a table to experience ‘Dinner at mine’.
Here are some of the comments received:
(from the organiser) “Fantastic feedback, everyone loved your food, well done”.
“Definitely do it again,we will book for next year!! Yes both Paul and I really enjoyed the food,what was the fish?”
“I fully intend to make use of your brilliant services again”.
A typical dish served at ‘Dinner at mine’ – and many more!
More enquiries came in after that, but as I’d booked a month away in Indonesia, I had to let them all down.
But, hey everyone – I’m back now, and open for business! And I’m introducing a new booking system for ‘Dinner at Mine’. You no longer have to book for a group of 10 or 12. I’m going to have up to three tables available on the same evening. So if you don’t want to arrange a bigger group, you can book for four or six. Once I get a booking I’ll do my best to get one or two other tables arranged for the same evening.
I hope to hear from you!
I finally held the first noodle cooking demonstration at home in September after a lot of requests by friends. I’d like to say and admit that it was a big success….they all went home happy and enjoyed the noodle feast I’d prepared earlier.
To start with, I introduced the difference types of noodles I use. There are too many types available it would have taken me hours to explain every single one.
The first one I introduced was the wheat flour based, yellow in appearance, with just water mixed into the dough (or with eggs and oil added). My preference is the non-oil/fat-added type. Easily prepared and available in all supermarkets.
The recipe for this was a Javanese Noodle with chicken, prawns and vegetables. This dish can be eaten fresh from the wok or a bit later on like a salad
The second recipe was a Thai/Vietnamese influenced rice vermicelli salad, with loads of mint and coriander, plus minced chicken flavoured with lemon grass, shallots, garlic and fish sauce. A lovely dish to serve for a summer gathering as this can be made in advance and keep in the fridge to let the flavour to mingle and served at room temperature.
The third dish was Chicken Laksa, a typical Malaysian/Singaporean noodle soup with coconut based stock that I served with the two recipes above, but not demonstrated as we were running short of time, and I could tell that everybody was getting impatient with the ‘lecture’.
The day went really fast and I was pleased that everybody went home happy with a few ingredients and recipes in hand to get them starting with their noodle attempts.
I’m hoping to do another session for those who couldn’t get a space in September and maybe an evening class for ‘ladies who can’t lunch’ and anybody else who would like to learn a few tips in preparing yummy noodles.
Meanwhile, here is my recipe for the rice vermicelli salad dish:
HOT AND SOUR NOODLE SALAD
Serves: 4 people
1 very green/unripe mango, shredded
300 gr rice noodles – vermicelli
100 gr ground turkey or ground cooked prawns
8 cooked prawns, peeled
2-3 cloves of garlic, grated finely
3 shallots, finely sliced
1-2 bird’s eye chillies, finely sliced
3 fresh sticks of lemon grass – finely sliced (only the root end)
3 tablespoons fish sauce
juice of 2 to 3 limes
1/2 bunch of coriander
1/2 bunch of mint
Chopped peanuts (optional)
Cook the turkey in 2-3 tablespoons of water for 3 minutes or until it’s cooked and most of the water has evaporated, breaking it up into small pieces, then drain if there is still water left.
Mix garlic, shallots, chillies, lemon grass, fish sauce, limejuice and turkey or prawn. Taste, it should be salty and sour and slightly hot.
Mix in the noodles whilst they’re still warm, so that they absorb all the flavours.
Soak the noodles in hot water for 4-5 minutes (see instruction on packets) or until soft. Drain really well and cut them into shorter lengths using a pair of scissors if necessary.
Before serving (at room temperature), mix in the herbs which have been coarsely chopped (almost whole) and the mango.
Scatter with chopped peanuts if used.
Hope you have all had a lovely holiday and are ready for the return of the dreaded and monotonous school run. This may be something you’d like to do when the children are back at school.
I’m going to have a noodle cooking session here on Friday the 28th September, but can only take 10 people at a time, so first come first serve. Literally. Then, I’ll set another date or two for the those who can’t make it the first time around. I would say, it/they would be in November.
The session starts at 10.30. 1 hour for the first demo then eat together then another 1/2 or so for another recipe. Come hungry! I would appreciate £10/person to pay towards the ingredients and that should cover 3 different types of noodle based dishes.
I am looking forward to hearing back for you, but please hurry before I get booked for another catering job!
What hectic months they have been: plenty to write and talk about with what’s been happening here in our little cottage. The garden is soaked, the bottom part was flooded with water from the river and covered completely by mud and debris. Here are some pics of what it looked like the first time, at the end of April. (In June the water was about a foot higher!)
It took a good two weekends to clear it up but plenty still to do, especially with the weeds that are growing faster than any other plants.
In the kitchen I’ve been practicing new recipes and there are some which I would definitely do again and others that I’m not too impressed with. I have had fun despite the disappointingly bad weather outside.
The cooking lessons are still on. Young and adult, male and female, during school holidays or at weekends. Nothing pleases the ‘students’ more than creating their own spring rolls and tasting them once cooked. We do a three-course meal in three hours. A bit longer when the class is attended by ladies and gentlemen as wine and coffee are provided – not to mention the chatting and q&a during the lesson, which makes it quite leisurely.
There will be dates for a couple of hours of noodle cooking demo and eating in September. Space is limited to 10 people only. Please drop me a line for dates if you and friends are interested to attend.