Sunday, 28 October 2012

Why was the jack-o-lantern afraid to cross the road? He had no guts! -Halloween Risotto

Happy Halloween all!
I have always loved celebrating Halloween but usually just by bathing myself in fake blood and drinking far too much in Camden Town. This year however I decided to be a little more mature and break my Jack-o-lantern virginity, especially if it meant I had some scrummy pumpkin to create an autumnal treat with afterwards. 

So I know he isn't the most impressive of the bunch but I am still VERY proud to introduce to you my lovely Mr Jack. 

....and now for the yummy bit... My 'Pumpkin, sage and goats cheese Halloween Risotto'. 
For this you will need (to serve 4):
- 1 Pint of chicken stock
- 1 small pumpkin and a small sweet potato (diced)
- a handful of fresh sage (please use fresh as dried really just isnt the same!)
- 100g gooey Goats cheese (I use Cartmel or Soignon)
- salt and pepper
- A tbsp of fresh Parmesan to serve
- 200g Risotto rice

This really is SO simple and heavenly! 
Fry your onion and sage in olive oil in a big pan (the sort you would use for stew or soup) until soft. Next add the rice until fully coated in the oil and then add about a quarter of your hot stock. Keep stirring until simmering. Next add the pumpkin and sweet potato. Once the first bit of stock has been absorbed add another quarter and keep stirring (its a great forearm workout!), repeat this until the pumpkin is soft and the rice is fully cooked. Be patient and make sure the end result is still lovely and gooey (add a cheeky chunk of butter!) before adding generous chunks of goats cheese.

Serve with some crispy fried sage (fry for 1 min in olive oil and its heaven!) and a sprinkle of parmesan....oh and a glass light red wine! 

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Malaysia: The queen of streetfood

This is a post I have been meaning to write for a long long time. I spent nearly 4 weeks travelling through Singapore and Malaysia in July this year. It was a trip that I have been dying to do for so long and although it is an incredible experience and a stunning country, I must admit that my main desire was for the FOOD! I have been in love with Malay cuisine for as long as I can remember so the thought of 4 weeks of exploring the streetfood and hawker markets of Malaysia filled me with SO much excitement.  

Our first stop was Singapore, where we very excitedly had our first Singapore Chilli Crab experience. EPIC! For this we ventured into Chinatown to a restaurant called 'Da Dong' that has serving Chill Crab since 1928!!  

The next evening we discovered what turned out to be my favourite of the Singapore Hawker markets 'Lau Pa sat' where we feasted on roast duck and pork. These hawker markets are full of lots of tiny stalls where you can feast on anything from Malay, Japanese, Indian for next to nothing - Our meal with fresh watermelon juice cost us less than £2 each!

Followed by a very strange looking but lovely tasting dessert. 

Next we moved on to Kuala Lumpur. We spent our first night here in a beautiful little Japanese restaurant called 'Kameya'.

After a hot, sweaty day of trekking up to the Batu Caves and fighting with horny monkeys we went to check out a little traditional Malay cafe which I had read lots of very flattering reviews about. 'Betty's Cafe' lived up to our expectations to say the least. We ordered enough food for 6 people but when the bill comes to £12 for the lot (including beer) you kinda just think "why not?".

Chicken and prawn laksa

Malaysian chicken curry 

4 Hours and lots more beers later in the hussle and bustle of a Friday night in KL we stumbled back to our hotel to find Jimmy, our satay man. Now Jimmy's satay is no where near as cheap as we found in Penang (photos further down) but it WAS without doubt the best satay I have ever tasted, and very conveniently just outside our hotel Maya each night after 11pm. 

As you can see Jimmy did not just sell chicken satay but everything from beef to crab to squid, all equally as yummy. 3 nights later Jimmy was our best friend......

On to Penang. This is where the proper streetfood got going..... 

I wanted to take this little man and his homemade wonton and pork soup home with me. 60p a bowl!!!

Pork wontons from scratch

Once the sun went down we headed to Penang's Red Garden Night market for some VERY cheap and very yummy Dim Sum

The next night we went to check out the longest standing night market in Penang on New Lane. 

 ....and had yet more delicious satay

 Once we moved on to Langkawi we were greeted by some friends who live there and who whisked us off to their favourite restaurant  on the island,Sawadee a little family run Thai. The food here was so good we ended up going back there twice during our stay. 

 fresh watermelon juice

 Duck and shallot salad - seriously delicious, I have been trying to recreate this at home ever since, but it just isn't the same :(

Mango and dried fish salad - heaven!

chicken with chilli and Thai basil

We really did eat some incredible food during our time in Malaysia and I was never disappointed so I would really recommend any foodies who fancy an epic taste bud tour to give it go. It really was also so so cheap, we ate like kings for a pittance!  

Oh beautiful, stunning, YUMMY Malaysia how I miss thee......