Tag Archives : garlic

Squid in Garlic and Pepper Sauce (Plamuk Tod Gratian Prikthai) 11

I totally have a sick fascination with cleaning out squid. I never buy pre-cleaned squid tubes or rings. There is no fun in that. I like to buy a whole squid from a fish monger and then clean it out myself. I like the sliminess of ink sacs, cardboardy backbone and half-digested fish.

Anyway, enough about my ridiculous seafood habit. Yes I started this post ages back and no now is not the time. While we are back to the normal aesthetically pleasant white background, I bring bad news. My grandmother is really unwell so I’m off to Thailand for a week or for as long as it takes. Good news is I will be surrounded by family and all the lovely Thai food but bad news is it won’t be a good family moment.

I leave you with a simple, classic Thai dish since I have written most of it before now anyway:

Serves 1 or 2 as shared meal

  1. 1 fresh squid, cleaned and sliced into bite-sized pieces
  2. 2 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  3. 2 large cloves of garlic (again)
  4. 1/2 tsp of white peppercorn
  5. 2 fresh coriander roots, cleaned
  6. 1 tbsp of fish sauce
  7. a pinch of sugar
  8. 2 tbsp of coriander leaves, chopped

Fry the sliced garlic in some oil until golden. Set aside. Pound the rest of the garlic, peppercorn, coriander into a paste. Heat oil in a wok until smoking, add the garlic/coriander/pepper paste and stir fry for half a minute. Add the squid, stir. Add fish sauce and sugar and stir fry for about another minute. Sprinkle with coriander leaves and crunchy garlic.

Be back when I’m back.

Asparagus, Rice and Pancetta Soup 7

asparagus, rice and pancetta soup

I am totally going through an asparagus phase at the moment. Every market I go to, they’re selling beautifully fresh, plump asparagus. Who am I to refuse these little beauties?

This soup was adapted from Skye Gyngell’s My Favourite Ingredients, which is really a beautiful cookbook. She writes cookbooks like she writes poetry. It’s great. As Skye said, this recipe is more like a wet, sloppy risotto rather than a soup. It is substantial for dinner.

slowly frying the onion, herbs and pancetta

Hearty Soup for 2:

  1. 8 fat asparagus, tough parts peeled back and chopped into 3 cm pieces
  2. 1.5 cups of risotto rice
  3. 1 spanish onion, finely chopped
  4. 3 slices of mild pancetta (about 80g), chopped
  5. 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  6. 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  7. 5 fresh sage leaves, chopped
  8. 2 slices of dried porcini or 2 dried shittake mushrooms
  9. 750 ml of hot water + 1/2 cube of Massel vegetable stock + 1 tsp of Vegeta Gourmet stock*
  10. a pinch of salt and pepper
  11. parmesan, shaved to serve

adding asparagus to the soup

Heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil and slowly fry off the onion, pancetta, sage and thyme for about 10 minutes on low heat until the onion turns clear and translucent. Add salt, rice and garlic and fry until the rice is too hot to touch. Add the stock and dried mushrooms and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add asparagus and bring back to boil for another 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Serve with freshly cracked pepper and shaved parmasan.

* Or use whatever light (vegetable/chicken) stock you have. I rarely do my own stock but I have started a freezer bag of off cut vegetables so once that’s full I might do up a batch of fresh stock.

Stir-fried Eggplant with Thai Basil, Chilli Bean and Garlic 1

eggplant with thai basil and chilli bean sauce

This is one of those incredibly easy Thai dishes to make. It’s one of those dishes I make when I basically can’t be bothered. The original version uses yellow bean sauce but since I’m so in love with the Chinese chilli bean sauce, I used that here.  It’s also easy to omit the oyster sauce and turn it into a vegetarian dish. Serve with rice. I have never tried substituting this recipe with other types of basil but I can’t imagine they will work.

  1. 1 eggplant, cut into 3cm  cubes
  2. 3 tbsp of vegetable oil
  3. 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  4. 1 red chilli, sliced
  5. 1 green chilli, sliced
  6. 4 stems of Thai basil, leaves picked
  7. 1 tbsp of oyster sauce
  8. 1 tbsp of chilli bean sauce
  9. 1 tsp of tomato ketchup*


Heat up the oil until hot, add the eggplant pieces and stir-fried quickly. Turn the heat down slightly and keep frying until the eggplant is browned, soft and silky. Add a little of water if it becomes too dry. This takes about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chilli and stir for a minute or so. Add the sauces and a bit of water if necessary. Add the basil leaves and turn off the heat.

* I use tomato sauce instead of sugar to round off the flavours in stronger-flavoured dishes. The tomato won’t come through, neither will the sweetness but you’ll taste the difference.

Lemon and Oregano Lamb Wrap with Garlic and Yoghurt Sauce

lemon and oregano lamb

Just to prove to you how seriously behind in my blog posting I am, I would like to draw your attention to my Mother’s Day Roast Lamb post. Now you might also recall that Mother’s Day is actually in May here in Australia. Just before, I bought a whole leg of lamb (because the butcher wouldn’t sell me half) so I had the other half chucked into the freezer.

Less than a month later, I roasted the other half and turned it into this very blog post. Yay.

roast lamb with lemon and oregano

I got this idea from Tessa Kiros’ first book Falling Cloudberries, which is one of my favourite food books of all time. She had the idea to slow roast the lamb with lots and lots of lemon and oregano with potatoes and it sounded delicious so I gave it a go and it was a bit of a hit. Even the Kiwi visitors thought it was all right!

Lemon and Oregano Lamb:

  1. Half a leg of leg
  2. 1 tbsp of dried oregano
  3. 2 lemons
  4. 50 g. of butter
  5. Salt and pepper to taste
  6. Drizzles of olive oil

Preheat the oven to 220’c Stab the leg of lamb with a little knife. Season with plenty of salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Drizzle over some olive oil and massage the lamb with a bit of love. Sprinkle the oregano and squeeze the lemon juice all over the leg. Cut up the butter into little cubes and dot it on the lamb.


Place the lamb on a baking tray and pour a bit of water at the bottom of the making tray (about 1 cm). Bake for about 2.5 hours. Turn the heat down to 180’c after 15 minutes. Keep topping up water if necessary.

garlic and yoghurt sauce

Garlic and Yoghurt Sauce

  1. 1 cup of Greek style yoghurt
  2. 1 small clove of garlic, crushed
  3. generous pinch of salt
  4. a drizzle of olive oil

Combine the garlic, yoghurt and salt togther. Drizzle with olive oil.


(Josh’s wrap, see how he lines everything up? Aww bless his cotton socks)


  1. Cos lettuce (or any crunch lettuce)
  2. Spanish onion
  3. Cucumber
  4. Flat-leaf parsley (important, don’t skip)
  5. Tomato

To serve, warm up some pita bread in the oven (wrap in foil and then place in the oven with the lamb at the end for about 10 minutes). Place some salad and lamb on the pita bread and drizzle with garlic & yoghurt sauce. Dig in.

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