Friday, 30 August 2013

A weekend treat...super easy sponge cake

It's almost the weekend and what could be better than having a nice treat to serve up with a cup of tea or coffee?

Rather than reaching for a packet of shop-bought biscuits, why not make this quick sponge cake that can be filled with cream & jam, a fruit mousse,...?  I couldn't believe how easy it was to make this - it was mixed and baked within 30 minutes!
Easy sponge cake
Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Looks good enough to eat...Korean sweet & spicy sauce

When I was a little girl I liked nothing better than sitting on the sofa looking at the pictures in my mum's cookbooks.  I still do it!  I love recipes with photos - it helps me imagine what the dish will taste like if that makes sense. 

Korean sweet & spicy tofu
I often go online and do a recipe search by image - that's exactly what happened a couple of days ago when I needed some inspiration for a tofu dish.  Not being a vegetarian, it's not something I have much experience cooking with and to be honest, I have had tofu that tasted more like a wet sponge than anything else, so I was a bit wary of what I might end up with. 
Well, this recipe for Korean sweet & spicy tofu (continuing yesterday's theme of world foods) was a revelation!  Before you recoil in horror, this would work equally well with chicken, pork or prawns :-)  The tofu was crispy thanks to a coating of cornflour applied before frying, the sauce was sticky, sweet and spicy and I demolished the lot in seconds.  The sauce is probably one of the best I have made - we will have this again soon with chicken and stir-fry vegetables! 

Monday, 26 August 2013

In 80 meals around the world...Vietnamese spring rolls & spicy peanut dipping sauce

I moved to London in the early '90s and over the next few years got to experience so much food from around the world that I had never had before.  My first Indian curry gave me the hiccups as I wasn't used to the spices and heat from the chilli but I loved every hiccup-y mouthful.  My first Thai food almost had me in tears with delight at the delicate fragrant flavours.  Since then I've eaten Japanese, Mexican, Korean, South African, Tanzanian,...the list goes on.  I feel incredibly lucky to have tasted so many delicious cuisines and can't wait to try many more.  My dream trip would be travelling around the world with Mr Happy Larder and eating in every country of the world - I'd die one very happy & full woman :-)

Spring rolls with spicy peanut dipping sauce
I guess where I live "unusual" ingredients have become so much more accessible and whilst I try and watch out for food miles, I also love trying out new things.  The latest is Vietnamese rice paper wrappers.  These thin rice papers are used to make spring rolls and make a fabulous change from having sandwiches for lunch.  You can have them as they are or fried/baked - on this occasion I tried the "original" version.  Simply soak the papers in warm water for a few seconds, then stuff with your favourite filling and roll up tightly. folding over the sides to create a sealed roll.  I had mine filled with fresh salad veggies, cooked brown rice and some salmon. These little buddies went especially well with my homemade spicy peanut dipping sauce - you can find the recipe below.

Mhm, which country will my culinary journey take me to next?