Thursday, 24 February 2011

Thai Green Chicken and King Prawn Curry

After reading Nigella's book Kitchen, my latest new obsession is sushi rice. I know it's nothing earth shattering, but it's my absolute favourite carbohydrate at the moment. There's something so comforting about the slightly sweet flavour of the grains that cling to each other and soak up whatever juices or sauce that you spoon over it. The sticky texture is the ultimate comfort food, warming and satisfying on these colder days that we've had in the last couple of months - and without the guilt, that I at least, certainly feel with a big bowl of pasta or a bread-heavy meal. I can justify a big bowl of sushi rice to myself with 'It's ok, it's unprocessed and natural,' unlike the other carbs that I usually turn to for comfort - cue bread based meals like pizza, fried foods like chips or breadcrumbed dishes, or pasta dishes which, let's face it, usually come topped with cheese!!

So, on to my other current obsession - the topping for this rice: Thai Green Curry. The gentle heat with the creamy (yet not as hideously detrimental for the waistline as actual cream!) coconut milk, and subtle flavourings of lemongrass, lime and ginger creates my ultimate weekend treat at the moment. Obviously you could put whatever you wanted in it meat-wise, or in fact you could make a vegetarian one, however my particular favourite is chicken and king prawn. You don't need many prawns, they're sort of the icing on the cake, and chicken seems to compliment the flavours beautifully.

The recipe I've used is a Waitrose one which I tailored slightly to my taste, but I imagine they're all fairly similar:

Serves 3:
For the chicken:
3 chicken breasts
2 tbsp Thai green curry paste

For the curry sauce:
1 tsp olive oil

1 red onion

1cm fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

3-5 tbsp Thai green curry paste
half a jar of tamarind paste (about 40-50g)

400ml coconut milk (one can)
1-2 kaffir lime leaves (I haven't managed to get my hands on these y
et so I used a few strips of lime zest, about half a lime's worth
1 lemongrass stalk, bruised

1/2 tbsp soy sauce

1 1/2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
1/2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

frozen peas (the recipe suggests about 40g, but i just pour in as many as I feel like)

Marinade the chicken in the Thai green curry paste for at least 15 minutes before starting cooking.
Fry the onion in the oil for 3 minutes, then add the ginger and fry till it's all soft.

Still in the paste and cook for 5 minutes, then add the chicken and fry for 5 minutes.
Add 150ml boiling water to the tamarind paste, then add this along with the coconut milk, lime leaves (or zest), lemongrass, and slowly bring to a simmer - but don't boil or the chicken will toughen.

Simmer gently for 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked, then add the soy, fish sauce and chilli sauce along with the peas and simmer till the peas are tender.

Remove the lemongrass and leaves or zest, serve over rice and sprinkle with coriander and spring onions if you fancy.

Obviously this recipe doesn't include the prawns, I added them right at the end, just before the peas, so they had a few minutes to cook through. Pile high on a plate and dive in - perfection!!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Dedication Cake

Here is my latest attempt at cake decorating, it was for Mr. Colehill's nephew (for whom the New Baby Cake was for in August) who had his dedication last weekend. It was a lovely occasion, with all eyes and attention on the beautiful boy.

This is the first time I've been 'commissioned' to do a cake as it were, as opposed to just deciding to make one, so I was pretty excited to say the least

The cakes were layers of chocolate and victoria sponges, with white chocolate buttercream between each layer and between the sponge and the royal icing. The baby in the basket and building blocks were pure icing...not to be given to any children for fear of some extremely hyper-active playing and probably some very tired parents at the end of the day

Hope you like it, this could be the beginning of a beautiful business :-)