Monday, 23 February 2015

Can you live without dining?

We may live without poetry, music and art;
We may live without conscience, and live without heart;
We may live without friends; we may live without books;
But civilised man cannot live without cooks.

He may live without books, - what is knowledge but grieving?
He may live without hope, -  what is hope but deceiving?
He may live without love, - what is passion but pining?
But where is the man who can live without dining?

Edward Robert Bulwer 
Earl of Lytton 1860

Monday, 9 February 2015

A taste of Asia

If you like me are wishing you were in sunny Thailand rather than cold Dublin right now well you have three options! Jump on a plane and head East; head down to your local food market and get some tasty eastern ingredients to fuse together. The third option of course is to get to a suitable Thai restaurant but them you miss out on all the cooking fun and the opportunity to experiment and create just the taste your looking for. I adore a good Tom Kha Gai soup with noodles and have travelled far and wide to acquire the best dish. Sadly many restaurants fail to deliver to standard. It is a relatively easy dish to produce but there are a few ingredients you need to ensure the best outcome. Here is my version of this famous soup using Japanese Udon noodles so that it becomes a main dish. 

1 can coconut milk
3 kafir lime leaves
1 galanga
1 garlic 
500 g fresh prawns peeled (use the shells for stock)
1 fresh chili
150 g fresh button mushrooms
1 fresh lime
1 fresh lemon grass
Bunch of spring onions
1 Charlotte onion
1 red pepper
1 litre water
1 pack of udon noodles (Japanese noodles)
1 pack fresh coriander


Peel the prawns removing the intestines and saving the shells. Chop up the galanga, lemon grass, lime leaves , garlic and Charlotte onion. Toss the peeled prawns with crushed garlic and fry quickly in a pan for one minute. Set aside in a bowl. In same pan, fry the shells with the chopped vegetables adding the chilli for five minutes. All the water. Let it boil for ten minutes. Strain the stock and reduce to taste. Add the coconut and season to taste with salt, pepper and lime juice. Boil up the udon noodles and heat two bowls. Add the non stock vegetables (spring onions, red pepper, mushrooms) to the soup. Strain the noodles once cooked. Place the noodles in the warm bowls, add the prawns and pour the soup over. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve immediately.