Archive for December, 2007

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Fresh fish and cocktails at the Hua Hin night market

December 30, 2007

Our first stop in Thailand was Hua Hin, a coastal town to the south west of Bangkok which has a fantastic night market, complete with all the standard market stalls – clothes, jewellery, DVDs, trinkets, plus lots of fresh fish stalls, where you can choose your fish to be cooked there or take it away with you.

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Snapper, crab, mackerel and massive, meaty tiger prawns bigger than a chihuahua are all freshly caught and then laid out on ice at the market stall.

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This tiny cocktail bar occupying a stall in the market was complete with a full selection of spirits and a very capable barman who mixed each drink with vigour!

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My first Pina Colada of the holiday. Perfectly mixed, and a snip at only 80 baht!

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Mr Rice normally goes for manly cocktails but this time as a special treat he went for a cheeky Mai Tai in a cheeky ‘lady’ glass.

Recipe for Mai Tai
1 part dark rum
1 part amaretto
3 parts orange juice
3 parts pineapple juice
1 dash grenadine

© Katheryn Rice 2008

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She likes Thai food

December 28, 2007

Happy New Year! 

Mr and Mrs Rice are currently liking their food in Thailand. Watch this space for some cracking fish from the Hua Hin street market, a superb family restaurant in Koh Lanta and the unique culinary delights of Bangkok…

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Caramelised onions

December 20, 2007

Caramelised onions is one of my favourite ingredients. I love caramel at any time, and onions are the basis for so many dishes, however they have been prepared. That’s why I added them to my sausage rolls. Of course you can buy them in a jar, but making them usually gives better results.

Recipe for Caramelised Onions
3 red onions
1 white onion
25g butter
dash of olive oil
3 tbsps brown sugar
50 ml warm water
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Thinly slice the onions and fry gently with the butter and olive oil until they are soft and translucent. It’s very important to let them cook slowly – if they burn the bitterness will come out, which will spoil the sweetness.

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When the onions are soft and translucent and just starting to brown, add the brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and a splash of water and stir well. Then cover the pan and cook on a low heat for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice only, to ensure it doesn’t stick.

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After 15 minutes, check the onions to see how much moisture is left. The less moisture there is, the sweeter and stronger the caramel flavour will be. Cook the onions in the same way – on a low heat with the lid on – until you get the consitency you want. For the sausage rolls recipe you will need the least amount of moisture, so they look like the onions below.

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When the onions are caramelised to your liking, use immediately or store in the fridge for up to a week.

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Caramelised double cheese & sausage rolls

December 19, 2007

One of my favourite ever and best ever recipes, descended from a family tradition and spiced up with caramelised onions and cheese. These sausage rolls are so delicious that a lot of willpower is needed to prevent them all being eaten the minute they come out of the oven.

The sweet, sticky caramelised onions ooze out to make an even sticker outer surface, the melted cheddar gives a cheesy dimension and the parmesan crust makes the puff pastry perfect!

sausage-rolls-4.jpgRecipe for Caramelised double cheese & sausage rolls
500g premium sausagemeat
200g puff pastry
5 tbsps caramelised onions
150g grated mature cheddar cheese
100g finely grated parmesan cheese
50ml milk
flour for dusting & rolling

Mix together the sausage meat, caramelised onions and grated cheese until everything is well combined. Set this aside while you roll out the pastry into a rectangular shape. Flour your hands and your working surface, then take a ball of the meat and roll it into a sausage shape the same width as your pastry. Roll it onto the pastry, leaving a 1-2cm gap from the long edge.

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Brush the edge of the pastry with milk so it will stick to the other side. Then pick up the edge of the pastry and wrap it over the top of the sausage, bringing the edge down flat on the pastry on the other side and pressing it down so you have a 1cm edge. Press it down firmly so the edge is well sealed. Cut all the way along the edge to release the long sausage roll and put to one side. Repeat until you have run out of pastry.

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Brush each section with milk, then sprinkle with the finely grated parmesan and then slice into individual sausage rolls.

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Finally, place them onto two lined, floured baking trays, ensuring there are at least 3cm between each one. Cook at 180ºC for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden.

They are best eaten as soon as they have cooled enough not to burn your mouth, but they can also be frozen and then reheated for 5 minutes in the oven. Delicious!

© Katheryn Rice 2007

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Mince pie tarts

December 17, 2007

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For me, mince pies are more about the mincemeat than the pastry, so I thought it best to come up with an alternative to the traditional shortcrust-heavy version. These mince pie tarts use puff pastry, which may be just as calorific, but less heavy than shortcrust. And of course tarts have no lids, so the pastry to filling ratio ends up being about 50/50.

Making mince pie tarts instead of mince pies also gives you more scope for different shapes and sizes too. Make them as big or small as you like, but remember that the small ones might not last very long. No sooner had I put this lot down on the table had Mr Rice eaten nearly all of them. They are delicious, and so easy to make, but the making is much longer than the eating.

Recipe for Mince Pie Tarts
1 medium jar of mincemeat
100g glace cherries, roughly chopped
50g pecans, roughly chopped
50g flaked almonds
150ml Disarronno Amaretto
100g ground almonds
200g puff pastry
50 ml milk

Mix together all the ingredients except the milk, ground almonds and the pastry in a bowl and leave to stand. Sprinkle your working surface with flour to prevent the pastry from sticking, then roll out until 3-5mm thick. Choose the size/s you would like to make and cut these shapes out of the pastry, then move them to a floured and lined baking tray. Carefully brush each piece with milk, then sprinkle on a light layer of ground almonds.

If you want the edges of the tarts to rise up around the filling, carefully score a line all the way round each one, about 1 cm from the edge, and carefully spoon the filling inside this area. You can skip this bit if you like and just carefully spoon the mincement mixture into the centre of each tart, and the tarts will just rise a little less, but be just as delicious.

Cook at 180ºC for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is turning golden brown. Leave to cool for ten minutes, then carefully remove from the baking tray onto a cooling rack. Serve on their own or with cream or ice cream.

© Katheryn Rice 2007

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Chloe’s Cosmopolitan

December 13, 2007

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Chloe, our gorgeous friend from the US of A came over for dinner, and instead of bringing wine, she brought the ingredients for the New Yorker’s drink of choice – the Cosmopolitan.

She mixed a whole pitcher-full of the chic and sexy cocktail and as we poured it out into chilled martini glasses we all secretly pretended we were supping our cocktails in a cool Brooklyn apartment rather than a Finchley garden flat.

The combination of flavours is irresistible – slightly tart cranberry juice is set off nicely by the sweetness of the triple sec and the citrussy cointreau and lime juice – all kicked into shape by good old vodka.

Possibly not recommended mid-week, unless for a special occasion, for example if some friends have come over.

Recipe for Cosmopolitan
4 parts vodka
1 part triple sec
1 part cointreau
2 parts cranberry juice
1 part fresh lime juice

Mix everything together and serve in chilled martini glasses and garnish with a lime wedge. Perfect for a Christmas birthday party, or any other time.

©  Katheryn Rice 2007

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Yes, you can freeze bananas

December 8, 2007

We’ve all done it. You get carried away planning your five a day and end up buying too much fruit, some of which will sit in the fruit bowl until it’s time to throw it away. Bananas go from green, to yellow, to brown, to the bin. But it doesn’t have to be this way. They freeze brilliantly.

Bananas are best frozen when they are ripe. Just put them straight into the freezer with their skins on. The skin will go a very dark brown, but don’t worry about this, because the flesh stays a lovely yellow colour and the flavour intensifies.

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Frozen bananas take about 2 hours to defrost properly, then carefully score the skin lengthways with a sharp knife and pull apart to reveal delicate, glossy and soft banana flesh.

So what do you do with them? Frozen bananas can be added to smoothies without even being defrosted. Banana bread and Banana cake are both excellent with defrosted frozen bananas, and the soft flesh is perfect for banana icing.

© Katheryn Rice 2007

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