Two new dishes a month is achievable and I am quite pleased to say that both Annie and I are challenging ourselves to join in with Penny. We may not manage each month or we may get bored but for now, we are motivated and keen to keep going. There may be just a smidgen of mother-daughter competitiveness there....
So, what has been happening in the kitchen? I'll start with Annie's challenge. Despite her tender age, she is a good cook, knows to follow a recipe and understands the main cooking methods. She is not quite so good with the clearing up part but I am not complaining, or maybe just a little as I scrape unidentifiable food stains of the walls. Annie was given the complete Delia's How To Cook for Christmas and this is the book she is using for her challenge for the time being. Her first creation was coconut lime chicken with green vegetables, followed by mini chocolate fondants.
Annie's second meal was salmon baked with a crust of pesto, pecorino and breadcrumbs with vegetable couscous. It was most delicious. Annie cooks a meal most weeks but the two dishes she made for her challenge were new to her.
For my own challenge I chose 'Rosa's Thai Cafe' by Saiphin Moore, a book that had been languishing at the back of our bookshelves ever since I bought it. If I had to choose a favourite world cuisine, it would be Thai. I have another Thai cookery book, 'Thai Food' by David Thompson, which is a much more comprehensive guide of Thai cuisine but is far less practical for the daily cook. Saiphin Moore's recipes are simpler and some of the more exotic ingredients have been replaced with readily available ones. Still, a trip to our big Asian supermarket was required to get some bits and pieces. I keep lemon grass, lime leaves, galangal and lesser galangal in the freezer.
I cooked spicy stir-fried cod and spicy fried minced pork patties, both with minor adaptations. The cod can be replaced with any white fish, in fact the original recipe used river cat fish.
The pork patties were served with a salad inspired by Turkish cuisine, a combination of small chunks of pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, plenty of parsley (the flat leaf variety) with a dressing of lemon juice and olive oil. There is always a lot of chopping and preparing for this kind of dish, something that I really enjoy. I particularly like making little piles of ingredients on my chopping board and admire the colours and smells. The preparations for both dishes took up more time than the actual cooking but the whole process took no longer than 30 minutes, ideal for a quick dinner.
The dishes look quite ordinary but trust me, the flavours are divine. I love that tangy and salty sweetness so often found in Thai dishes. I usually make a variation of a Thai curry or a soup and deliberately chose recipes that were neither curries nor soups. I did however make a batch of red curry paste using a recipe from the book and froze it in ice cube trays for later use. I have owned a number of Thai cookery books over the years and find Rosa's Thai Cafe one of the most practical ones, if you make a batch of paste and keep it in the freezer, making a delicious meal quickly is no problem at all.
Do you feel inspired? Maybe you have long forgotten cookery books? Why not stop by at 'A Homemade Heart for ideas. Happy cooking! xx