Here is another gorgeous dip I discovered in my quest to find some amazing new ones and give the hummus a break for a bit. Very simple, ready in five minutes… this goes really well with the Houriyan dip I posted about earlier…so good together!
80 g (3 oz) feta cheese
300 g greek yoghurt
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove crushed
2 Tbsp chopped dill
2 Tbsp chopped mint
salt and pepper to taste
Mix everything together and keep the feta a bit lumpy, you don’t want it too smoothly mashed into the yoghurt. Enjoy with some good pita.
Yes, strange name, but its meant to reflect the way the little bits of mince pork coat the shiny lustrous bean thread noodles… if you like Chinese food you can’t miss this dish. It’s certainly got a spot on my fave noodles list.
This is a super delicious and relatively quick and easy recipe. You just soak the noodles in hot water, marinate the pork mince for ten minutes, while you chop some spring onions, ginger and garlic, mix up the sauces and are ready to toss it all into your wok and start cooking. A very quick meal in minutes which is so tasty and satisfying, also very authentic and you won’t find it in Chinese restaurants. If you have you basic Chinese pantry ingredients you will have the meal ready to devour in a big bowl in front of a good movie in 20 minutes.
Soak noodles in hot water
Marinade meat, chop veg, mix sauce ingredients
mung bean noodles
I love the ready chopped ginger and garlic in the freezer section of supermarkets here in France, it makes life extremely easy! Picard, the French frozen food supermarket which I am a little obsessed with since I moved here even stock giant bags of ready chopped garlic which are very handy if you cook a lot like me. They even do frozen chopped french shallots/ red and yellow onions and all the fresh herbs you could need in these mini cardboard boxes with pour out lids… absolutely brilliant and time saving. Because they are freeze dried they retain all the flavor and make cooking a breeze.
I usually double the pork and add a bit more noodles so I have left overs for the next day.
(for marinading meat)
125 g or 4.5 oz minced ground pork or beef
1/2 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp Shaoxing rice wine
1/2 tsp roasted sesame oil
125 g bean thread noodles
1 tbsp oil (flavorless)
2 spring onions finely chopped
1 Tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 garlic clove chopped
1 teaspoon to ban jiang chili bean paste
2 spring onions finely chopped (for garnish)
Sauce: (mix together all ingredients in a bowl)
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 Tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1.2 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
250 ml (1 cup) chicken stock
Soak mung bean noodles in hot water. Mix the minced meat with marinade ingredients and let sit for 10 minutes). Chop all vegetable and keep ready.
Heat the wok over high heat, add oil till very hot. Stir-fry the minced meat mashing and separating it, till it changes colour and starts to brown. Push the meat to the side of the wok, add the spring onion, ginger, garlic and chili paste and stir fry for 5 seconds, or till fragrant. Return meat to centre of pan.
Add the sauce to your meat mixture and toss lightly. Add the noodles and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Sprinkle with remaining spring onions to garnish and tuck in!
If you need some interesting new dips to serve with your pita, you are in the right place… I was bored of hummus and tatziki amongst others when I came across this recipe for a Tunisian carrot dip. Now I have had some carrot dips in Lebanese/Middle-eastern restaurants as part of mezze and never really was bowled over by any of them. Enter Houriya courtesy of Diana Henry’s recipe… and I am finding myself spreading it even on toast for breakfast, running to the kitchen to putting a smidge on a bit of baguette as a snack…obsessed. Just taste it and see… the lime and the honey really work well with the harissa and make this sing. Not sure why hummus is king, this could totally take over!
It is superb with some Iranian bread called Naan e Barbari (delicious, and everyone must try), which I had to go all the way to Iranian store called Eskan in the 15th arrondissement of Paris to find. You can also get your Tahini and pomegranate molasses amongst other Persian and middle eastern goodies here.
Simple and easy to make and delivers loads of flavor. Diana Henry said every recipe in this book had to be magical and having only tried this dip first, I can say it totally is magical. Turning the humble carrot into something so fantastic is pretty rare. I have adapted it to my taste a little. If you have a bag of carrots sitting in your fridge you need to finish do yourself a favor and make this!
300g (10.5 oz) carrots cut into chunks and cooked till tender
1.5 tsp ground cumin
2-3 tsp harissa (I like Belazu rose harissa)
1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1.5 tsp honey
5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
juice of a lime
1 green chili cut into a few pieces
Add cooked carrots and all other ingredients to food processor and blend. Taste and adjust seasoning according to taste, add more salt/pepper/honey/vinegar. Serve at room temperature drizzled with some olive oil. Drizzle some harissa on top too if you like.
I cannot explain to you how much I love Thai food. I could seriously just go to Thailand and eat my way through and do nothing else, so deep is my love for their hot and spicy cuisine (well maybe I’d fit a few of their amazing massages in).
A real proper Tom Yum Soup on the streets of Bangkok is just truly sublime… so much chill, so much lime, so much full on flavor, just hits you in your face and bam you can’t go back to the half hearted attempts that are served in the restaurants to cater to the western tastes. Even Bangkok airport has Thai restaurant that serves this and on my trips to and from Sydney to London I would always stop and have a big bowlful there, the conciliation prize for not actually going into Bangkok, made me this long flight was actually worth it to stop here just for this.
Anyway, here is a really tasty treat for those of you who like really good Thai food. I have not put as much chili in this as I used to, it was a little crazy how much chili I used to eat, somehow I have become calmer now and don’t think I can handle the same level of 15 bird eye chillies in a bowl of soup that I used to be able to… I used to try and make it the same way I saw the street stall people making it with enormous amounts of lemon juice too, and funnily enough nobody else but me could eat it at home. I blame it on being married to my English husband…or maybe just time has mellowed me out. Now a respectable 4-6 chili’s is all I can manage to put in the whole soup!
I always keep essential Thai staples in my freezer and pantry. Always have some kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, Thai chillies in my freezer. If you keep good fish sauce, oyster sauce, some maesri curry pastes and coconut milk, then you can whip a nice Thai meal whenever the mood strikes. I found these super cute packets of Tom Yum Mix of all the herbs and things (perfect size for cooking for 4-6) you need ready made to store in the freezer section in Paris’s Trang Fares asian grocery stores. These can be used for Thai curries and soups. Pretty genius I thought as you just cut open a pack and add to your pot, without having to gather and prep 5 different things. Loved this latest discovery last week, anything to make life easier.
It is great to have a tin of chicken stock sold in asian food stores, if not maggi or knorr stock cubes would do to. But the flavor works better for asian soups with the asian chicken stock powder. I always have some on hand. You can use it for lots of things.
chilli jam and fish sauce
Ready to use tom yum herb mix
mung bean noodles
Hot and Sour Noodle Soup with Prawns
WUN SEN TOM YAM KUNG
150g (7 oz) mung bean noodles
350g raw prawns (peeled with tail left on, and butterflied if you like)
1 liter chicken stock/veg stock (use stock cubes mixed with water )
2 lemon grass stalks (cut and bruised)
2.5 Tblsp fish sauce
1.5 – 2.5 tbsp chilli jam (depending on how spicy you like it)
(2-4 red or green thai chillies (slightly crushed)
110 (4 oz) g mixed mushrooms
110 g (4 oz) baby tomatoes or a med tomato cut into 6
7 kaffir lime leaves
4 Tbsp lime juice
coriander/cilantro to garnish
Soak the mung bean noodles in hot water for 1-2 minutes till soft, then drain them and use a pair of scissors to cut into small pieces.
Heat the stock (I just use 1 liter of water mixed with chicken stock powder you can buy at asian supermarkets in the quantity suggested on the box), Amoy brand is a good one to get. Add the lemon grass, fish sauce, chili jam and crushed chillies and bring to boiling point. Reduce the heat to medium, add the mung been noodles, then cook for 1 or two minutes. Add the prawns and cook for another minute. Add the mushrooms, tomatoes, lime leaves and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Spoon into a bowl and garnish with coriander leaves.
A lot has happened since I last blogged! I have moved from New York to Paris and been here for ten months already! The reality of living here is far different to the dream, and its been a lot of getting used to the French ways which can often be frustrating and and only later when you reflect on some of the comical situations you end up in a it can be a tad amusing with the help of passing time giving you distance from the situation. Needless to say David Leibovitz’s book on Paris and blog really stuck a cord with me and I helped me figure out some French peculiarities. Some I will never quite get I am afraid!
I recently got back from holidays in the south of France in Provence and Tuscany and had not baked in months, I found a bag of frozen pitted cherries in the freezer and had been meaning to try this cake out ever since I got Diana Henry’s great book called “a change of appetite”. This has gone to my top favorite cakes list, it is sticky and moorinsh and finger licking good. I plan to make it with many different fruits like plums, pears, apples, she actually recommends using gooseberries in the book and cherry is the variation.
It’s a pretty quick and simple recipe but I also made it simpler by sprinkling the almonds right on top of the cherries and baked for the full 30 minutes instead of how she sprinkles them on top in the last 10 minutes of baking. Some will sink in the dough and some remain on top. It is really good hot out of the oven, as we discovered (cause my other half could not wait till it cools, the smells in the house were just too good), its also great cold later with tea or coffee, and of course would be great served warm with a good vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Cream butter and brown sugar, add eggs one at a time
add flours and baking powder and fold
Pour batter into springform cake tin and spread
Top batter with defrosted frozen cherries and sugar mix
Top with flaked almonds and bake 30 mins
Savor the delightful smells from your oven and enjoy your creation…
The book is great if you like me cannot diet and are a person who lives to eat! I highly recommend this book… specially after eating a lot on your holidays and you feel you need to shed some weight! Great recipes from all around the world and you won’t feel like you are on a diet at all.
125g (41.52oz) unsalted butter, plus more for the tin
125g (41.2oz) soft light brown sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
50g (13.4oz) wholemeal spelt flour, sifted (can use wholemeal flour if you don’t have spelt)
350g (12oz) dessert gooseberries (red or green), topped and tailed OR 350g pitted cherries (I used frozen defrosted for an hour and half)
4 tbsp golden caster sugar
30g (1oz) flaked almonds icing sugar, to dust
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Butter a 20cm (8in) springform cake tin.
Beat the butter and soft light brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition.?If the mixture starts to curdle, add 1 tbsp of the spelt flour. Fold in the rest of the flours, the almonds and baking powder using a large metal spoon, then scrape into the prepared tin.
Toss the gooseberries with the golden caster sugar and spread them over the top of the cake. Bake for 20 minutes. Sprinkle on the flaked almonds and return to the oven for 10 minutes. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin, then carefully remove the ring and base of the tin. Dust with icing sugar before serving.
a cherry version… This is just as good made with cherries. Just pit 500g (1lb 2oz) of them and throw them on to the cake just before it goes into the oven. They’ll be soft in the time that it takes the cake batter to cook. This makes a lovely squidgy cake.