Tuesday 29 March 2011

Airport Ramen

Airport ramen

I've just spent the last two weeks travelling across Malaysia, finally culminating in Bangkok. We ate so much it'll take me a good few days to recover and to collect my thoughts, but meanwhile I'll leave you with my 6am bowl of ramen at Bangkok airport, devoured after 8 hours of boozing and one hour's sleep.

The flight home was interesting. To say I resembled and smelt like a drunkard would be an understatement.

Sunday 13 March 2011

Purple Seaweed, Tofu & Pickled Mustard Green Soup

Often when I have a great dish out I attempt to recreate it at home. Fortuitously, immediately after I had this soondoobu jiggae at Koba, Meemalee's Kitchen posted a recipe for it. I hot footed it to the Korean shop and made it with great success.

I had some lovely extra soft tofu left though and wondered what to do with it. Various websites told me to make vegan mayonnaise. Bleugh. Instead, it went into this soup.

Pork bones were simmered slowly, with a few chunks of winter melon thrown in. Winter melon is one of those vegetables that don't taste of much at all, but it's cooked flesh is juicy and soft, yielding a textural element. Purple seaweed tastes... seaweedy, as you might expect, and chunks of extra soft tofu broken into it are jelly-like. Pickled mustard greens provide that essential contrasting crunch to the slimy delicate wobbliness of it all. I've made that sound very unappealing, and perhaps it is if you're squeamish with textures, but if you're not, get cracking with it. After a serving my stomach claimed it was full, but I couldn't resist another bowlful.

Purple Seaweed, Tofu & Pickled Mustard Green Soup

Serves 2

500ml pork bone broth
100gr winter melon (turnips of daikon would also work well)
1 carrot
A handful of dried purple seaweed (you can buy this at your local Chinese supermarket)
2 tsp chilli bean paste
100gr extra soft tofu
4 tbsp pickled mustard greens, sliced finely
2 slices of ginger
Soy sauce to taste
2 spring onions

Soak the pickled mustard greens in water to remove some of the saltiness. Heat a scant tablespoon of oil in a saucepan and fry the chilli bean paste until fragrant. Add the broth and simmer with ginger, chunks of melon and carrot, chopped to even sizes, for 15 - 20 minutes. Soak the seaweed in cold water for 5 minutes and then drain. Drain the mustard greens and add them. Simmer for 5 mins, then add the seaweed and the tofu, breaking the tofu into chunks carefully. Add soy sauce to taste and then serve with the spring onion chopped and scattered on top.

Wednesday 9 March 2011

The Invasion of The Drapers Arms

I think it's pretty important to do your bit for charity; whether it's donating money or donating time, I try and do something once a year. It started off with The Macmillan Coffee Morning, which led to The Blaggers' Banquet, and most recently helping out with my friend Helen's Big Lunch in a marathon 2 day cooking binge.

So when Ollie and James said they were running the London Marathon for Action Against Hunger, I was pretty impressed. 26 miles! To raise some extra money, the lovely Nick Gibson, owner of Islington's Drapers Arms suggested we use his gaff to try and raise some money for their Marathon fund. Ollie, James, Helen and I will be manning the kitchen for the upstairs dining room, a total of 55 diners to feed.

So, on Wednesday 20th April at 7pm, we will be serving up at 4 course meal with ingredients we have blagged from lovely PR and food producers. There will be wine (and those weird things call soft drinks). There will be canapes, and a welcome cocktail.

Hints at a menu are pointing towards a terrine of sorts, followed by hogget and a nice springtime pud. £40 per person and all proceeds go to Action Against Hunger.

Buy your tickets HERE.

Big thanks to @full_beard for designing us our lovely logo.

Tuesday 8 March 2011

Wafuu Pasta

Japanese fusion, or Wafuu pasta is a concept new to me, first introduced by MiMi of Meemalee's Kitchen. I was fascinated by it; it seemed wrong, but right. Italian style pasta was popular in post-war Japan and some time in the 70s, people started to experiment with Japanese flavours. Anything that usually went on top of rice was mixed into spaghetti and other pasta shapes.

I decided on pretty specialist ingredients. Enoki mushrooms, ikura (salmon roe) and shiso leaf were to be the main flavours. Shiso's citrussy metallic tang is a flavour I haven't found anywhere else; I suppose a peppery herb like rocket could be a substitute, but not a very accurate one.

When combined, the savoury notes of the toasted nori complemented the fishy, salty bubbles of roe. Shiso, spring onion and lemon worked together in bringing the dish lightness, while a lump of butter did the opposite, balancing it well.

Ikura, Enoki & Shiso Spaghetti

Serves 2

250gr spaghetti
2 handfuls / clumps of enoki mushrooms
2 spring onions
170gr ikura
2 shiso leaves
1 tsp wasabi paste
1/2 a lemon
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp mirin
2 tbsp olive oil
1 knob of butter
Toasted nori
A little ginger

Put the spaghetti on to cook. Combine the lemon juice, wasabi paste, soy sauce and mirin in a bowl. Slice the spring onions and the shiso finely. When the pasta is nearly done, heat a non-stick pan and add the enoki mushrooms, frying on a high heat until they release their juices. Add the sauce mixture along with 3 tbsp of the pasta water, add the butter, stir to combine and take off the heat. Drain the pasta and add to the mushroom sauce. To serve, top with spring onion and shiso and scatter the ikura in generously. Garnish with strips of toasted nori and a little grating of ginger.

Thursday 3 March 2011

Toot Toot

That's the sound of me blowing my own trumpet. Turn away now to avoid some shameless self-promotion...

I'm in April's edition of Red Magazine for their '20 Women to Watch Under 30' feature, out now.

I'm in some pretty illustrious company - god only knows why they asked lil' ol' me to be in it, but buy the magazine to see it in full colour glory. And to read about some interesting 20-something year olds.

(Picture taken from their online edition.)