Category Archives: Recipes

Ginger Cookies

ginger cookies

This is a recipe I’ve been using for ginger cookies for over 10 years. The vegetable oil keeps the cookies soft for days.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use rice bran oil, but any mild flavored oil is fine)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 cup white sugar

Directions

  1. Place a rack in the center of your oven and pre-heat to 175°C/350°F. Grease a cookie sheet and set aside.
  2. Mix the flour, cloves, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Peel the skin from the ginger. If you have a food processor, you can combine the peeled fresh ginger with the oil and process until well blended, then strain. Or, use a grater to grate the ginger to a paste and then mix with the oil.
  4. Add the ginger oil to a large bowl, then add the egg, molasses and sugar. Mix well.
  5. Add the flour mixture and mix well.
  6. Take the dough into teaspoon-size lumps and roll into a ball with your hands. Flatten a bit with your fingers. You can either place directly on the sheet, or sprinkle a bit of white sugar on top first to create a crunchy sugar coated cookie.
  7. Bake 8-12 minutes until the tops crack and the cookies flatten out. Cool completely.

Makes 24 cookies. If the dough sticks to your hands while forming the cookies, try refrigerating the dough for 20 minutes first.

Maple Iced Pumpkin Cookies

Cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, soft
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached sugar
  • 1 cup mashed pumpkin *
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla **

* I used Japanese pumpkin (kabocha), skinned and chopped into 1″ cubes and steamed until soft. I then mashed with a fork.

** I use vanilla sugar – take old vanilla pods and add to an air tight glass jar with unbleached sugar. The sugar will take on the flavor of the vanilla. Use as much as you want.

Maple Icing

  • Some confectioners’ sugar (1 1/2 cups?)
  • A few tablespoons of maple syrup
  • Some water to make it the right consistency

Aaaand Go!

  1. Mix the flour, rising agents and spices together in a bowl. I use a whisk. Set aside.
  2. Cream the softened butter with the sugar until soft and fluffy
  3. Add the egg and mix well
  4. Add the pumpkin and mix well again
  5. Add the vanilla (or vanilla sugar) and the dry ingredients. Mix.
  6. Roll into 1″ balls and flatten slightly (you may need to flour your hands). Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350°F for 15-18 mins.
  7. Cool completely before glazing ***

*** Sorry I didn’t measure this part. Essentially you want to add enough maple syrup to make it flavored, and then enough water to make it thin enough to drizzle on top of the cookies. But not so thin it doesn’t set. Try icing one cookie first and throwing it in the fridge for a few mins. If it’s hardened up a bit to the touch you’re good.

Also, stacking these cookies is a really bad idea. Don’t even bother putting them into a container because it’ll be a mess. But you won’t need to anyway because these cookies have magical softening properties so leaving them on the counter top for days actually makes them softer and better over time.

Khao Soi

here’s what i did:

mash together:

  • 1 can red or kua curry paste
  • about 3 tablespoons cubed dry roasted ginger
  • about 2 tablespoons dry roasted shallots
  • about 1 teaspoon dry roasted coriander seeds
  • about 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • about 1 tablespoon curry powder

(if you’ve never made curry paste, the general rule is start with the dry/hard first and work to the wet. i started with grinding up the coriander seeds in my mortar first, then the ginger, shallots, added the curry paste (cheating, i know), then the turmeric and curry powder)

fry the paste in oil on medium heat until darker colored and fragrant, about 5-8 minutes. add 1 can of chao koh coconut milk and simmer for about 5 more mins. add oyster mushrooms and/or pre fried tofu, and about 2 can’s worth of water to thin it. i also added a mushroom buillion cube. season with a few dashes of dark and light soy sauce and about a tablespoon of palm sugar.

deep fry some bah-mi noodles (chinese wheat noodles) in oil and dry on a cookie cooling rack to keep crisp (don’t use paper towels!). boil more bah mi noodles and set into a bowl. cover with the curry and place some fried noodles on top. garnish with chinese pickled mustard greens, chopped shallots and season with homemade chili oil.

homemade chili oil: dry roast dried prik kee nuu chilies (the little thai ones) until brown. grind up. throw 1/2 cup oil in your pan and heat it up, then add the chili powder back in and cook it until it starts to brown a bit more. you don’t want to burn it, just light brown. warning: this shit is spicy.

Buttermilk Pancakes

Here’s the pancake recipe I use.

  • 1 cup (125g) plain flour (not self-raising)
  • 2 tablespoons (25g) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2g) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3g) salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) butter, melted
  1. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl.
  2. Crack the egg into a smaller bowl and whisk with the buttermilk and melted butter.
  3. Add this to the flour mixture and mix well until lumps are gone. I use a whisk.
  4. Spoon out onto a medium heat pan, greased lightly with butter.

TIPS:

  1. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can hack it by using whole milk instead and mixing in 2 tablespoons of plain white vinegar. Let it sit for about 5-10 mins before using. It kinda curdles the milk and gives it a sour flavor. It’s close enough.
  2. Fresh blueberries are best and freeze really well. You can add frozen blueberries to the batter and they’ll heat up while cooking. I buy them when they’re on sale and freeze them for later – they keep for months.
  3. A real New England version of this recipe is to substitute the sugar for maple syrup in the batter. It creates a nice crisp edge to the pancake.

Blueberry Pie

blueberry pie

Blueberry Pie

Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 6 tablespoons ice water

Filling

  • 1 qt blueberries (4 cups, 1 1/2 lbs, 680g, or enough for a pie)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup (or less?) brown sugar – depends on how sweet your berries are.
  • 3 tablespoons flour or cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Cut the cold butter into the sifted flour, sugar and salt until crumbly. You can either use a pastry cutter or a stand mixer on low (with the paddle attachment), or even a fork or two knives. Add the freezing cold water a little at a time until the dough is wet enough. It shouldn’t be sticky but should hold together. Kneed just a few seconds to bring it together, then divide into two round flat rounds and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  2. While the dough is freezing, wash the blueberries and add to a bowl. Add the lemon juice, brown sugar, flour (or cornstarch), and salt. Mix.
  3. Heat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and take one dough round out of the freezer.
  4. Flour your counter, the dough and the rolling pin and roll until about 11″ across. Place over your 9″ pie pan and pat down well. Trim the edges and place back in the freezer. Take out the remaining dough round.
  5. Roll out this dough into more of a rectangle to about the same thickness as your previous dough. Cut into long strips about 1″ (2cm) wide. I to use a zig-zag pastry cutter for a nice edge, but you can use a butter knife too.
  6. Remove your pie crust from the freezer and fill with the blueberries.
  7. Now we’ll make the lattice top. Place strips across the top in one direction only. Fold every other one back at the half way point. Place one strip across and bring all the strips back down. Fold the other half of the strips up and repeat. When you get to the end of the pie, turn it to do the other half. Fold the strips under the first crust and crimp the edges.
  8. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until the filling is thick and bubbling and the crust is browned. I recommend placing a cookie sheet under the pie in case it leaks.

blueberry pie lattice

Crumpets

crumpets

Crumpets

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  1. Add the water, milk, sugar and butter to a saucepan and heat until butter has melted. Do not boil. Allow to cool until warm.
  2. Add the yeast and cover for about 5 minutes, or until bubbly.
  3. Beat the egg and salt together in a large bowl. Add the mixture from the saucepan to the bowl and mix well. Sift the flour in and mix. Cover and leave in a warm place until doubled in size – about 45 minutes to an hour. (If your house is cold, you can heat your oven to about 150 degrees, then turn it off and place the bowl inside with the door open. You don’t want to cook the yeast, just keep it warm so it reacts faster.)
  4. When doubled, mix with a spoon to knock it down.
  5. Fill greased biscuit rings about 1/2 way with the batter and cook on a skillet over medium low heat until the tops are not shiny, the bubbles have popped, and the bottoms are browned.

Makes 6. Toast before eating (don’t cut in half like an english muffin, just throw the whole thing in the toaster as-is). Serve with butter and jam or Marmite. They freeze well. And don’t forget the tea!

Irish Baking Lesson


This is Patsy. She’s from Belfast, Northern Ireland. She teaches swimming at a school in Rayong, Thailand. She also bakes for a lot of the local restaurants in the area.

I tried her soda bread and kindly asked if she would show me how to bake it. She came over, showed me soda bread, potato bread and how to make a kiwi pavlova! Very exciting indeed. She’s even sent over the recipes she uses which I’ve posted here along with some photos from our baking day. Anything in italics are my notes for American readers.


Irish Soda Bread

This bread is popular throughout Ireland. Because it is easily and quickly made it is often baked fresh for tea or even breakfast. At home we used to call the loaf made with white flour soda bread, while that made with wholemeal (whole wheat flour) was wheaten bread. In other parts of the country wheaten bread is referred to as brown soda or, confusingly, soda bread!

  • 1 lb / 1/2 kg / 4 cups plain flour (all purpose flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 1 pint / 1/2 litre / 2 cups buttermilk or sour milk (cultured buttermilk)
  1. Sieve (sift) the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Scoop up handfuls and allow to drop back into the bowl to aerate the mixture. Add enough buttermilk to make a soft dough. Now work quickly as the buttermilk and soda are already reacting. Knead the dough lightly – too much handling will toughen it, while too little means it won’t rise properly.
  2. Form a round loaf about as thick as your fist. Place it on a lightly-floured baking sheet and cut a cross in the top with a floured knife. Put at once to bake near the top of a pre-heated oven, gas mark 8, 450°F, 230°C, for 30-45 minutes. When baked, the loaf will sound hollow when rapped on the bottom with your knuckles. Wrap immediately in a clean tea-towel to stop the crust hardening too much.

Wheaten bread or brown soda is made in exactly the same way but with wholemeal (whole wheat) flour replacing all or some of the white flour; this mixture will probably require less buttermilk. Another variation is to add 1/2 cup of sultanas (raisins) to the white bread.

Note from Cee: Patsy says there are two ways of cooking soda bread – in the oven as in the above recipe, or on a griddle. She said she cooks it on a griddle most often and that’s how she showed me how to do it (see photo above). If cooking on a griddle, separate above dough into four rounds and flatten on a well floured surface to about 1/2″ thick. Score a cross into it and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side. Press the sides to check doneness – it should spring back. Once cooked, you can snap apart at the scores and have 4 triangle shaped soda breads called “farls”. She also used more baking soda than in this recipe, about 3x as much, perhaps due to the humidity in Thailand to help it rise. She does not add sugar.


Potato Farl

Also known as potato cake or potato bread, this is very much a northern dish. It is an important – indeed essential – constituent of the Ulster Fry, alongside bacon, egg, sausage and perhaps fried soda farl. (Ulster Fry is a giant Irish breakfast)

The recipe calls for cooked, mashed potatoes. These should be freshly boiled, or, better still, steamed and passed through a food mill, and used warm.

  • 2 lb / 1 kg / 2 cups mashed potatoes

  • 4 oz / 125 g / 1 cup plain flour
  • 
2 tablespoons butter

  • salt


Melt the butter and mix into the potatoes with the salt. Work in the flour quickly but thoroughly and knead lightly. Divide in two and roll out each half on a floured board to form a circle about the size of a large dinner plate. Cut in quarters (farls) and cook for about 3 minutes on each side in a heavy frying pan in a little bacon fat.

Note from Cee: Patsy says to make potato bread is quite easy, you don’t really need to measure anything. Simply take as many potatoes as you like and boil them until really soft. Make mashed potatoes like you do normally with butter and salt, but make sure they’re really well mashed and not lumpy. Add a wee bit of flour and mix. She did not use as much flour as the recipe above. Turn out onto a well floured surface and pat into a pancake 1/2″ thick. Cut into quarters (farls) and fry on a medium griddle until light brown. She used one of those non-stick electric griddles which doesn’t require grease.


Buttermilk Scones

Morning coffee and afternoon tea would not be complete without fresh scones, and there are so many delicious varieties. The secret of making good scones is a quick, light hand when mixing, and a hot oven.

  • 225g / 8oz self-raising soda bread flour (this is flour you can buy in Ireland with baking soda pre-added. substitute this with 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour + 1/2 teaspoon baking soda)
  • pinch salt
  • 
25g / 1oz butter or hard margarine
  • 
1 egg, beaten
  • 
140 ml / 5fl oz buttermilk / (about 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon)
  • 
egg or milk to glaze (optional)


Makes 8

Preheat oven to gas mark 8 / 230°C / 450°F. Sift flour with salt and rub in butter or margarine. Make a well in the centre and pour in the egg and most of the buttermilk. Mix quickly to form a soft dough, adding a little extra buttermilk if necessary. Turn out onto a floured surface and roll out lightly until 2.5cm / 1 inch in thickness. Working quickly, cut into 5cm / 2 inch rounds. Glaze with egg or milk and set on a floured baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until light brown.

Savoury Cheese and Herb Scones
Add 1 teaspoon dry mustard, 50g / 2oz grated cheese and 2 tbsp fresh, chopped herbs to the dry ingredients and proceed as before. After brushing with egg or milk, scatter a little grated cheese on the top of each scone.


Dulse and Yellowman

Did you treat your Mary Ann to some dulse and yellowman, 
At the Auld Lammas Fair in Ballycastle-O?

Dulse is a purple edible seaweed. I remember buying it at a penny a bag as a child when sweets were hard to get at. It can also be stewed for a couple of hours and eaten as a vegetable or with oatcakes. It is not known much outside the north of Ireland – and it is no great loss!

Yellowman is a different matter all together. This toothsome, honeycombed, sticky toffee is traditionally sold at the Auld Lammas Fair at the end of August.

  • 
1 lb / 1/2 kg / 1 1/2 cups golden or corn syrup

  • 8oz / 250g / 1 cup brown sugar
  • 
1 tablespoon butter (heaped)
  • 
2 tablespoon vinegar
  • 
1 tablespoon baking soda


In a large saucepan slowly melt together all the ingredients except the baking soda. Do not stir. Boil until a drop hardens in cold water (240°F, 190°C on a sugar thermometer). Stir in the baking soda. The toffee will immediately foam up as the vinegar releases the gas from the baking soda. Pour out onto a greased slab and while just cool enough to handle fold the edges towards the centre and pull repeatedly until the whole is a pale yellow colour. Allow to cool and harden in a greased tin and break into chunks with a toffee hammer – or anything else that comes to hand


Irish Chocolate Cake

The “Irishness” of this lovely chocolate cake is thanks not only to the wonderful liqueur used in the filling, but also to a certain, very Irish, ingredient in the cake mixture itself, which contributes to its moistness.

Sponge

  • 
175g / 6oz / 1 4/5 cups self-raising flour (Americans: use 1 cup + 3/4 cups + 1 tablespoon all purpose flour & 2 teaspoons baking soda)
  • 
1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 
50g / 2oz dark chocolate
  • 
110g / 4oz butter
  • 
175g / 6oz caster sugar (3/4 cups)
  • 
80g / 3oz cooked mashed potato (about 1/3 cup)
  • 
2 eggs, beaten
  • 
4 tablespoons milk
 (1/4 cup)

Filling

  • 
110g / 4oz dark chocolate
  • 
125ml / 4fl oz double cream
 (1/2 cup whipping/heavy cream)
  • 50g / 2oz icing sugar (1/2 cup powdered sugar)
  • 
3 tablespoons Irish cream liqueur

Preheat oven to gas mark 5 / 190°C / 375°F, and grease and line two 20cm / 8 inch cake tins. Sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Melt chocolate in a bowl placed over a saucepan of hot water. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy, then beat in the chocolate and mashed potato. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little flour with each addition. Fold in the rest of the flour and stir in the milk.

Divide mixture between cake tins and bake for 25-30 minutes or until top is firm but springy to the touch. Remove from oven and after a few minutes, turn out on a cooling rack. While the cake is cooling, make the filling. Melt the chocolate as before, stir in the other ingredients and mix well. Use the filling to sandwich the sponge layers together and coat the top and sides of the cake.

Homemade Peanut Butter

peanut-butter1

I decided to try making peanut butter on Friday. I went to the market and bought about a kilo of the small raw red Thai peanuts with the skins still on and roasted them in my oven for about 20 minutes until they were brown. I then peeled the skins off (there are still bits of peanut skin all over my apartment 4 days later). Then I ground them with a bit of oil in my spice grinder.

There’s a neat trick which I learned in Thailand – after you roast the peanuts, rub them together a bit with your hands to get the skins off. Then take the pan outside and blow – the skins will blow away because they are so light weight. You’re now left with just the peanuts.

The ratio is 1 cup peanuts + 1 teaspoon (bland tasting) oil. You can add other stuff too like salt and sugar or honey or whatever.

peanut-butter2

It was all great and yummy except I dulled my blades badly of my grinder. No worries, my new sharpening steel mostly fixed that problem.

Homemade peanut butter makes the best peanut butter cookies.

You should refrigerate this because it doesn’t have any preservatives… should last a couple weeks. Thanks to Cerissa for the photography!

Molten Spiced Chocolate Cake

Molten Chocolate Cake

Molten Spiced Chocolate Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 8oz semisweet chocolate (that’s about 1 cup, but since ya can’t pack it perfectly use about 1.5 cups…)
  • 2 whole eggs + 2 more egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar (i use cane sugar, not white sugar)
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons flour
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
  2. Heavily grease with butter some ramekins… about 8 of them. I cheated and used a muffin tin. Worked fine.
  3. Remove the black inner seeds from the cardamom pods and discard the shells. Add to a mortar and pestle along with the cloves and peppercorns and grind until fine.
  4. Melt the chocolate & butter with the spices over medium low heat with a bain marie until melted.
  5. While the chocolate is melting, beat the eggs, sugar and salt until the sugar dissolves. Then add the flour and mix well.
  6. Add the melted chocolate into the egg mixture. Stir then fill the ramekins or muffin tin almost to the top.
  7. Bake for about 8 minutes, until the top is dry and puffs up, but is still a bit jiggly if you move it around in the oven.
  8. Remove from oven and let set for a minute or so, then flip onto a plate and top with powdered sugar. I added the sugar inside a tea strainer and tapped the side of it with a spoon on top.

Chinese Tea Eggs

tea eggs

Chinese Tea Eggs

  • 4-6 chicken eggs, brown or white
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • about 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chinese black tea (pu erh is best, but any will do)
  • 5″ of cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon sichuan peppercorns
  1. Wash the eggs well and boil in a small pot with about 1/2″ of water covering them.
  2. After a few minutes, remove the eggs and cool in a bowl of cold water.
  3. When not so hot anymore, tap the shells with the back of a spoon until completely cracked all the way around, then add back to the boiling water with the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Simmer on very low heat for about 30 min, then let sit for a few hours or overnight.

Mel’s Outrageous Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

photo.jpg

Mel’s Outrageous Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
“Would you mind if I licked the bowl?”
Makes 24 cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir into the butter mixture until well blended. Mix in the chocolate chips. Divide into 24 equal round balls and place on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or just until set. Cool slightly on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Bánh Xèo, Thai Style

Banh Xeo, Thai Style

I usually cringe when people talk about fusion food, but recently I had a Thai (mis?)interpretation of Bánh Xèo (usually called Vietnamese Pancake or Vietnamese Crêpe in English) at a temple fair in Bangkok. It was served by two ladies who simply called it “khanom buang yuan” (vietnamese pancake). What’s funny is that it was absolutely nothing like it’s Vietnamese cousin, but was really tasty all the same. I liked it so much I went home and made it the next day.

The only thing I changed from their version was to serve the pancake folded once (like in Vietnam) and I added turmeric powder to the dough (Jett’s idea). It’s filled with cooked bean sprouts, fried tofu, pickled radish and chopped peanuts. And topped with ajaat — slightly pickled cucumber salad. It’s like Southern Thailand meets Southern Vietnam!

Bánh Xèo, misinterpreted
Makes two crêpes

  • 1/3 cup rice flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 cup tofu, cut into strips and fried
  • 2 cups bean sprouts, boiled until soft(ish – don’t kill them)
  • 1 tablespoon diced chinese pickled radish
  • some vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped roasted peanuts
  • 1 cup ajaat

steps

  1. Mix the rice flour, water, egg, salt and turmeric in a bowl until smooth. Be careful with the turmeric, it stains really really well.
  2. Fry the tofu strips until crispy, about 2-3 minutes on high. Set aside.
  3. Boil the bean sprouts until soft, but not dead. About 30 seconds.
  4. Chop the Chinese pickled radish (chai bo) into little pieces. If you don’t have chopped peanuts, go ahead and do that too (if you have a mortar and pestle, it’s way easier to use that.
  5. Use a large bottomed pan (crepe pan is good) and bring it up to medium high to high heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with a bit of oil. When hot, add 1/2 of the batter and lift the pan — tilt it to coat the bottom. Set it back down and let it cook for about 1 minute, or until the bottom is lightly browned. Flip and add 1/2 of the filling ingredients. Fold in 1/2 and toss on a plate.
  6. Repeat once more with the rest of the ingredients.
  7. Top with the cucumber salad and chopped peanuts.

If you leave out the pickled radish, make sure to add some salt, as the radish is where most of the salt comes from in this dish. I’m not kidding about the turmeric, if you like your counter tops or don’t want yellow hands for a week – be careful. You can substitute the fried tofu with whatever you want — don’t be afraid to get creative, these market ladies sure weren’t!

Update: I went to another temple fair two nights ago and saw 3(!) vendors with this dish. It’s taking over Bangkok by storm! – April 4, 2008

Hummus

hummus.jpg

Here’s the recipe I use for hummus — I’ve made it a few times now and it’s pretty good. And really easy. I can’t find the original site where I got the recipe from, otherwise I’d credit it.

Hummus
Makes 4 cups

  • 1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3/4 cup tahini (roasted sesame seed paste)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, and more to taste (I used lime because I’m in the land of lime)
  • paprika (garnish)
  • olive oil (garnish)
  • some leftover boiled chickpeas (garnish – optional)

hummus-steps.jpg

  1. Soak the chickpeas overnight in water. Make sure you cover them with a lot of water because they’ll triple in size.
  2. Rinse the soaked chickpeas well and drain. Put them in a saucepan and cover with plenty of fresh water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Skim off the scum that forms at the beginning, then cover and cook over medium heat for about 1 1/2-2 hours until the chickpeas are very soft. You’ll probably need to keep adding water and skimming the scum off the surface. Allow to cool.
  3. When the chickpeas are done, puree the garlic and the rest of the salt in a food processor. Add the tahini and lemon juice and puree until blended. Add 1/2 cup of the chickpea water and process until completely smooth.
  4. Fish out the chickpeas and add them to the food processor, but keep the chickpea water. You may want to keep a few aside as garnish for after. Process until well-blended. Thin to desired consistency with the chickpea water. Adjust the seasoning with salt and lemon juice. The hummus can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge, and it’ll last a few days up to a week.
  5. Serve sprinkled with paprika and extra virgin olive oil.

Goes great with homemade pita.

1/2 & 1/2 Bread

I’m sick of Thai bread. It’s white, weightless and they cut the crusts off. I’m not kidding. It just like the bread that Americans give little children. And it’s so full of preservatives that you can eat it 2 weeks later. Yuck. So, I decided to make my own. And no, I don’t have a bread machine.

I went out and bought a book called “The Bread Book” by Sara Lewis. It’s published in the UK where they use all these cute terms like “strong flour” (bread flour) , “treacle” (molasses) and “molasses sugar” (dark brown sugar). The problem is, it calls for all these great flours like “granery flour” and “malthouse flour” which are absolutely impossible to get here in Thailand.

So I’m improvising. I went over to Villa (the expensive farang grocery store) and bought stone ground whole wheat flour, bread flour, flax seeds, oats, dried milk powder, sunflower seeds and black sesame seeds. And I followed the recipe for “Farmhouse White Loaf” but made it a bit more… wholesome. Here’s my adapted recipe. I call it 1/2 and 1/2 bread.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup stone-ground wheat flour
  • 1 1/3 cups bread flour (don’t use all-purpose)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fast-action dried yeast
  • 2 teaspoons dried milk powder (makes the crust nicer)
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds
  • 3/4 cup warm water (you may need to add more here)

Method

  1. Put the flours in a large bowl. Cut the butter up into pieces and add to the flour. With your hands, mix the butter and flours until there are no more chunks of butter, and the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the salt, sugar, yeast, milk powder and nuts. Add the water and mix until you have a dough (you may need to add a bit more than 3/4 cup, I add up to 1 cup if it’s dry)
  2. Flip the contents out onto your (clean I hope) table. Make sure it’s dusted with flour too so it doesn’t stick. Kneed for about 5-10 minutes, until the dough is springy and elastic. You want to do a lot of pulling to stretch out the gluten.
  3. Ball it up and throw it back in the bowl. Cover with oiled plastic wrap (that’s cling film for you weird Brits) or a damp towel and let it rise until doubled in size. This took me about 45 minutes, but it depends on how warm your kitchen is.
  4. Toss the dough back on your table again and kneed it once more, about 5 minuts or so. Roll it into a tube-shape and place inside a buttered bread pan (1lb/500g pan – like the ones used for making banana bread). Cover with your plastic wrap again (or towel) and let rise until it reaches over the top of the pan, about 30 min.
  5. Remove the plastic wrap, sprinkle the top with flour and bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°C (400°F) for 25 minutes.
  6. Remove from the tin and let cool on a wire rack.

Since this bread has no preservatives (yay) it’ll go hard in a day. So, slice it up once it’s cooled and throw it in a freezer bag in the freezer. What? You didn’t know you can freeze bread? Well, you can. Take it out and let it thaw and it’s as good as fresh. Great for toast too.

Lime Cupcakes

lime-cupcakes.jpg

Cake

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temp
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tea baking powder
  • 1 tea baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2-3 tea fresh lime juice
  • 1 tea lime zest
  1. Cream the butter until smooth, and gradually add the sugar. Beat for 2-3 minutes until it’s fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, and beat well between.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients — flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add slowly to the creamed butter mixture.
  3. When mixed, add the lime juice and zest.
  4. Fill lined cupcake tins 3/4 way, and bake in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes at 350°F. Make sure the tops do not get browned.

Frosting

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft
  • 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tea fresh lime juice
  • 1 drop light green food coloring (if desired)
  1. Cream butter until smooth, and then add the milk and lime juice and mix well. Slowly add the sugar until the desired consistancy is reached — you may not need all the sugar. You can add food coloring and/or zest if desired.
  2. Make sure the cupcakes are room temp before icing or you’ll make a big mess. Top with sprinkles or whatever you want!

makes 24 cupcakes.