A Memorable Dining Experience

Eating at a restaurant is one of life’s most precious activity. There are many reasons why that is so, but it generally lies in the fact that this very notion simply involves sitting, talking and relaxing. Today’s society has seen an incremental surge in the food service scene and it isn’t surprising that we are constantly bombarded with a new eating trend or a location waiting to serve us diverse range of food. Whether old or new, food comes and goes, but what remains is the dining experience we encounter at each and every restaurant we visit. Sometimes there are so much options available that we are, essentially, taking for granted such enigmatic features that often goes unnoticed when dining. When was the last time you properly remembered every detail of a dining experience? There is a considerable depth of awareness that we should endeavour at restaurants, and today we explore them by harnessing all the features of the eating space that confronts us the moment we walk in. This isn’t a guide on how to behave in a restaurant, it is a thought on how to spend an ideal moment of time there by reaping the pleasures of good food as well as good scenery.

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Chicken Green Curry

Green curry is the powerhouse of Thailand. Its extraordinary turquoise prose has had it recognised as a distinct curry of Southeast Asia. A reason that this dish is so popular is because it delivers sweetness, saltiness as well as hidden hints of spice altogether in one. On the weekends I usually make this recipe using a pestle & mortar, whereby ingredients are chopped very finely and pounded from softest to hardest until a thick green paste is achieved. This activity is indeed therapeutic and there is some sort of unexplainable satisfaction gained from cultivating your own curry paste. However on weekdays this is a different story.

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I don’t deny that cooking Thai food using traditional techniques can promise authentic tastes, but taking shortcuts are just as appealing when scrapped for time. Put all ingredients in a food processor and blitz together until you get a thick green paste. Use coconut oil (liquid) to help facilitate with the process. In this case, there is no need to chop ingredients so finely as they will be pulsed in the processor anyway. Chicken is chosen here because it truly is the only meat that accommodates well with this curry. However, if you prefer fish go for tuna (tinned), adding them near the end because they are already cooked. For a vegetarian version, add more aubergines and some fried tofu (cubed). Green curry is meant to be sweeter than all other Thai curries, so it’s okay to be generous on the seasoning.

Some people prefer thick curries and some like it thin (and watery). In Thailand, green curry is best enjoyed in its watery form; but some restaurants, all over the world, have adapted this to produce a thicker feel in order to provide a universal appeal. Depending on preference, add more water to loosen the curry or simmer for longer to get a thick appeal. Coconut milk is used here, but if you haven’t any in the pantry, feel free to use full-fat milk or any other dairy-free milk such as almond.

Gluten-Free | Dairy-Free

Serves 4

Green Curry Paste
Green Chillies Large chopped & deseeded 12 pieces
Cumin Seeds & Coriander Seeds roasted on a dry pan until slightly dark and fragrant 2 tsp each
Turmeric Powder 1 tsp
Galangal (or Ginger) peeled & chopped 20g
Lemongrass ends sliced off, outer layer removed & chopped 2
Kaffir Lime Leaves stalks removed & torn 4
Garlic crushed, peeled & chopped 4 cloves
Shallots peeled & chopped 2
Shrimp Paste 2 tsp
Fine Sea Salt a generous pinch

Chicken Green Curry
Coconut Oil 2 tbs
Green Curry Sauce (From Above)
Aubergine cut into small cubes & rubbed with some salt 1
Chicken Thighs (boneless & skinless) sliced into small pieces 600g
Bamboo Shoots sliced 150g
Coconut Milk 400ml/1 Can
Water 400ml
Thai Basil Leaves (or any other fresh basil) 10 g
Large Red Spur Chilli 1 (optional)

Seasoning
Palm Sugar 55g
Fish Sauce 3 tbs
Fine Sea Salt to coat aubergines

 

1. Put all green curry paste ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth, using some oil to help.
2. Heat 2 tbs of oil in a deep pan on low and once hot cook chicken until they become nearly cooked, stirring often. Add green curry paste (should sizzle immediately). Allow curry to fragrant and release its herbal aromas, around 3 minutes.
3. Add aubergine cubes and bamboo shoots. Cook for a couple of minutes until softened. Combine well for a minute to ensure ingredients are properly coated in the green curry paste before pouring in the coconut milk (save 2 tbs for decoration), 400ml of water (or more for a watery consistency) and adding all of seasoning. Leave on to simmer for around 8 minutes.
4. After simmering, vegetables and meat should be soft. Take curry off the heat, add basil leaves and mix well.
5. Taste and adjust seasoning before transferring green curry onto a serving bowl. Gently drizzle some coconut milk all over and sprinkle with thinly sliced red chillies (if using).

 

 

Caesar Salad (V)

Let’s be frank, a caesar salad costs a fortune at restaurants and cafés. They usually hover around £10/$12.60. Making this yourself couldn’t be more satisfying purely because not only do you save, but you get much more! It was during times when we felt peckish that we felt inspired to create a snack that keeps you going, whether in the office or on-the-go. This salad doesn’t involve that much cooking (if at all), its more of a mise en place partnering. The highlight is definitely the croutons, they are freshly baked in the oven to give a fragrant golden crunch. This is a simple vegetarian recipe, great for a packed lunch or as a side to dinner. Feel free to add chicken, bacon or anchovies.

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Fresh Juices Draining My Pocket

Fresh fruit juices have seen an uproar in popularity all over metropolitan areas, ranging from simplistic flavours to ingredients we’ve never heard of. They sell it everywhere you go: juice chains, independent coffee shops and healthy food stores. There isn’t a reason in arguing why this particular product isn’t healthy. It is basically loaded with essential nutrients vital for our bodies. But the question remains, why is it that fresh juices are deadly expensive when we can easily liquidate our own version at home?

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