Stop Press. Tempeh cooking demos Monday, 26 March. Morning and evening.
I mentioned in my last blog that I was planning to hold a session. These are the dates I’ve decided on. Book now! Space is limited. Send me a message via the contact form, or if you know my other contact details, call me, text me, or message me. Just let me know your preferred day and I will confirm with details.
I keep coming across a vegetable called chayote in Latin American recipes.
It’s also used in Cajun cuisine (they call it mirliton), and by a huge variety of different names throughout south and east Asia. In Malaysia it’s called, weirdly, ‘English gourd’; in Indonesia we call it labu siam, which means ‘Thai squash’. Whatever it’s called, I love it!
Chayote (pronounced chay-o-tee) is a member of the gourd family, so related to squash and pumpkins, melons and cucumbers. Its flesh looks a bit cucumbery, but firmer—and you normally cook it. It has a very delicate—some might say nondescript—slightly sweet flavour, and a beautiful soft but crispy mouthfeel, which makes it ideal for adding to a stir-fry or a soup or stew.
And here’s the big thing about chayote: it’s packed with folate (vitamin B9), and contains zero cholesterol and saturated fats. It also has useful amounts of vitamin C, other B-complex vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, and fibre. Quite a nutritional powerhouse!
You can find chayote in most Asian supermarkets in the UK—see ‘Where to find ingredients’ in my blog on Sambal.
The photos show a very simple one-pan Indonesian dish that I put together in about 20 minutes (most of which is prepping the ingredients). In the first picture, above, clockwise from top-left: chayote, coconut milk, dried shrimp, tempeh, shallots and garlic, galangal, dried salam leaf (bay leaf can be substituted), tomato, and of course red chillies.
Basically, chop everything up, and soak the dried shrimp.
In a large frying pan (ideally a wok) gently fry the tempeh in vegetable oil to soften it, then add all the other ingredients except the chayote, tomato, and coconut milk. After a few minutes add the chayote and carry on frying until it’s soft (about another five minutes). Finally add the coconut milk and tomato, and salt and pepper (don’t be stingy) for the last couple of minutes. Serve with rice. If you’d like a more detailed recipe do let me know. I’ll be happy to let you have one.
Enjoy! And think of all the goodness.
I’ve just been looking back fondly at the jobs we’ve done in the last year. They included 21st, 40th, 60th, and 90th birthday parties; dinner parties for five to 20 people; Christmas parties, private and corporate, and one in January to dispel winter blues; house warmings, quiz nights, and school parents’ evenings; and a buffet lunch followed the same day by dinner at a school, for a total of 384 guests! Altogether I reckon I’ve catered for close to 1000 people.
Here are a few photos of me and some of my team in action—and some of the dishes we served up.
And some of the responses from happy customers:
Thank you so much indeed for such fabulous food! The party was brilliant and Chris and I enjoyed every second of it! My phone & email has not stopped and everyone had such a fab time. Thank you for simply coming in and taking over—I had no worries at all about anything and everyone has raved about the food. A couple of people have left messages saying it was the best party food they’ve ever eaten!
I can’t thank you and Caroline enough for your gorgeous food last night—everyone thought it was really, really delicious.
Katie, Abinger Hammer
We were so pleased. You did a fabulous job thank you, and we had lots of compliments about the food. I will definitely be in touch again.
It was lovely to be back in touch with you and enjoy your lovely food. You were such a great help and fitted in so well at our dinner party, everything was presented so beautifully and tasted delicious.
Thank you so much for last night – nothing but praise for your food.
People continually tell us how much they loved your food. I think it was great and worked really well being served in those disposable dishes. I thought your staff were fantastic and did a great job. Many thanks for all that you did to make the party so successful.
We just want to say a huge thank you to all of you for helping to make Saturday’s reunion such a successful occasion. There is no way this would have gone so well without your attention to detail and can do-ness.
Susie & Lydia, Liphook
Thank you Ina, we had a lovely evening, your food was delicious, and you and Caroline looked after us very well. I will definitely use your services again, and recommend you to others.
Thank you so much for last night. The food was fantastic and everyone commented on how good it was! I am sure you will get many new inquiries for future events as a result!
My first job of 2018 is next week—just a little dinner party. Can’t wait to get back into the swing!
A very Happy New Year to all my customers and friends.
Every few years Kevan gets together with his old Churcher’s College school friends. For some reason or other it tends to be at our house! I guess we are the geographic centre of gravity. And anyway I love the chance to cook for myself for a change.
With a few extra family members we were 20 people this time. We have been so lucky with the weather on previous occasions, but this year the party was a bit later in the year, to coincide with a visit by the Australian branch of the Old Churcherians, and sadly we weren’t blessed with sunshine. But everyone spent most the afternoon eating so they didn’t really notice! At least it didn’t rain, and we managed to keep the dining room doors open all afternoon.
Here’s what I served:
Lamb kofte with jalapeño mayo dip
Duck & vegetarian spring rolls with sweet chilli sauce
Fish cakes with sweet chilli sauce
Chicken meat balls with tamarind dip
Croustades with quails eggs in Mary Rose dressing
Dates with goats cheese, pistachio & pomegranates
Smoked mackerel salad with heritage beetroot,
fennel & croutons
Camargue red rice salad with almond flakes
Barbecued pulled lamb with Asian-style green sauce
Persian sausage rolls
Carrot & parsnip fritters
Grilled peppers with anchovy, garlic & caper berries
Brownies with white & dark chocolate nibs
At last! We have fixed a date and a place for our next ‘pop-up’ restaurant event. Closer to home, it will be at Applegarth in Grayshott, on Wednesday the 2nd of November (2016, for clarity!)
Some of you may know the restaurant at Applegarth Farm. They normally open every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. We reckon it’s the prettiest, most atmospheric place to eat in the area. And we feel really at home there – just our sort of style.
They have a fully stocked bar – as you’ll see in some of the photos – with an impressive wine list.
Below is the four-course set menu we will be offering. All for a fixed price of £35 per person. Make sure you come hungry!
Because it is a one-off event, we ask that bookings be paid in advance. For reservations please call Applegarth on 01428 712777. (Please note that the booking form on their website is set up for their normal restaurant operation Thursday through Saturday, so cannot be used for this special Wednesday event.)
We’re looking forward very much to seeing you.
Cold lychees in Asian style vinaigrette dressing (v)
Spiced salted Asian whitebait and peanut mix (Indonesian style Bombay mix)
Lumpia — mini vegetable spring rolls (v)
Pineapple with chilli jam (v)
Chicken and carrot pops
Sweet chilli sauce (v)
Rendang daging — thick Indonesian beef curry
Ikan acar kuning — basa fish with pickled carrot, shallots, and cucumber in turmeric sauce
Balado telor — marbled egg topped with chilli salsa (v)
Nasi kuning — royal basmati rice with almond flakes (v)
Krupuk udang — Indonesian prawn crackers
Dadar gulung — pancakes filled with grated coconut and palm sugar
Mini coloured pavlovas topped with crème fraîche, passion fruit coulis, mango, and jack fruit