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Party Food

14 February 2008

Gai Bai Toey: Pandan Chicken


In my last post, I wrote about my third time lucky successful attempt at a Thai-inspired soufflé using coconut milk and pandan leaves.

I happened to have a few leaves left over so I made another Thai favourite: Gai Bai Toey, which are marinated chicken pieces wrapped in the leaves and then deep fried for several minutes. I have to say, it was some of the tastiest chicken I have ever eaten. The trick is to marinate the chicken for at least 3 hours.

The leaves are wrapped around the chicken just before frying where they protect the meat from being overcooked and infuse it with the wonderful pandan aroma. The delicately thin leaves are surprisingly hardy and can withstand being tied in a knot and then deep-fried.

Don't be put off by the fact that they're deep-fried: the pandan leaves seem to save the chicken from being oily. The meat is succulent and tender with just the right amount of crispiness on the outside.

Tying the leaves around the chicken can be a bit tricky but because the leaves are so hardy, if you make a mistake, you can try again and again without fear of tearing them. Just make sure that most of the meat is enclosed in a little parcel.

This recipe is an excellent appetizer to serve at parties to wow your guests but they have to be ok with using their fingers a little! They won't be disappointed. 

Continue reading "Gai Bai Toey: Pandan Chicken" »

30 January 2008

Satay Nuea: the perfect beer snack


Satay Nuea, otherwise known as beef satay, is my idea of the perfect beer snack. Found on many a street corner in Bangkok, the smell of satay barbecuing over hot coals is everywhere. The only difference is that the satay is more often pork than beef.

Satay is thought to have originated in Indonesia but it is widely eaten across South-East Asia. Thais tend to serve it with satay sauce made from fresh peanuts and another dipping sauce made up of vinegar, cucumber, red chilis, shallots and sugar.

This time round, I didn't make the second dipping sauce and chose instead to serve the satay sauce with a side of shallots and cucumbers - just as delicious. The shallots add a real kick to the flavours but not too much as to mask the fragrant meat which had been marinated in coconut milk, coriander and curry powder for several hours.

I kind of cheated with the satay sauce - I used peanut butter instead of fresh peanuts in the recipe. Oh well, why not when I have a massive jar of it just sitting in the pantry screaming out to be eaten!

If you have a barbecue to cook the satay then great but not to worry if you don't - the stove will work just as well. Try to use a heavy-based griddle pan if possible as this just helps with cooking meat evenly.

I am submitting Satay Nuea to this week's Weekend Herb Blogging being hosted by Claudia of Fool For Food.

Weekend Herb Blogging

Continue reading " Satay Nuea: the perfect beer snack" »

18 December 2007

Bite-sized Banoffis


Bite-sized Banoffi pies are little mouthfuls of heaven. The fact that they are so small doesn't make you feel so bad about eating such wicked litlte treats. They are also far easier to serve rather than having to slice up a large and delicately assembled dessert.

Banoffi pies are filled with toffee (dulche de leche), freshly whipped cream and topped with slices of fresh banana. I made the toffee from sweetened condensed milk which I gave a kind of steam bath for 1.5 hours. Another way to cook the condensed milk is to boil it unopened in the can for several hours, however this method can lead to the can exploding. As exciting as that prospect is, I decided that a nice steam bath would be more relaxing for both me and the condensed milk.

The Banoffi Pie was invented by the Hungry Monk Restaurant in East Suzzex, England, in 1972. The original recipe, which can be found on their website, includes coffee and castor sugar, both of which I left out. I think the toffee is sweet enough as is.

The complete story about the Banoffi can be found on Chef Ian Dowding's Blog. Ian was the original head chef at the Hungry Monk who invented the marvellous pie. Bravo Ian.

My recipe differs slightly but I do believe that my bite-sized Banoffis are just as pleasing! I used fresh pastry dough from the A La Mode Pie Shop, which I buy at the Public Market on Granville Island, in Vancouver. Their pastry is always excellent and the slight saltiness of the crust really complimented well the sweet toffee.

I am submitting this post to Blog Party #29 which is being hosted by Stephanie of the Blog the Happy Sorceress. The challenge was to make 'just a bite of dessert' and so you have it...Bite-sized Banoffis.


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25 November 2007

What a tart!


A tart indeed...a dark chocolate mousse tart with raspberries on top. This is my entry for this month's Waiter there's something in my...topless tart, being hosted by Cook Sister.

I got up at 8am today and started making this rather decadent dessert. I hadn't had any breakfast so I kind of ate bits and pieces of the ingredients. A raspberry here, a spoonful or three of chocolate mousse there...that sort of thing. Now, it's entirely justifiable to taste as you cook. It's the only responsible thing to do in the circumstances. However, as I am typing this out, I'm trembling from the early morning overload of sugar. Deep breaths.

The tart was pretty easy to prepare. I used my chocolate mousse recipe I made for Bastille Day a few months ago (minus the orange rind). The tart base was simply finely crushed biscotti mixed with a couple of tablespoons of melted butter. I could only seem to find biscotti with almonds or raisins in them so I opted for the latter. I just picked them out when I crushed the biscuits.


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23 November 2007

The Sunday Roast


My mum grew up on a small farm in rural Queensland, Australia in the 1950s. She had a horse, several cows and a flock of chickens. Each Sunday the family would get together and have a Sunday roast. It was an all-day affair that began at the crack of dawn.

Her dad would kill a chicken at first light, soak it and then it would be mum's job to pluck it when she woke up; a task that still haunts her to this day.

Her mum would milk the cows and with the fresh cream, she'd make butter for the table. The potatoes, carrots, peas and herbs would be picked fresh from the garden. Another one of mum's jobs would be to shell the peas, which she'd do till her little fingers were sore. She needed enough for four people, after all.

By the time the meal was served it would be would be two o'clock. Then came afternoon tea at four with a sponge cake, fresh out of the oven. And then it would be time for supper. A weekly ordeal!

While it sounds idyllic with all that fresh produce, what a hell of a lot of work! All but the beheading was done by the women, while her father and brother would retire to the couch to read. Pah!

What a long way we've come: I whipped up this roast in an hour and a half with only 20 minutes of prep time - and, to show how far women have come, I made Nic do all the chopping while I read the latest issue of Gourmet.

And so it was that an hour an a half later we tucked into a delicious roast chicken with a lemon herbed butter. The butter consisted of fresh thyme, rosemary, parsley and grated lemon zest.

When I roast a chicken, in order to get really crispy skin, I bake it on top of a wire rack that I fit over the baking pan. This way, all the juices run into the pan instead of having the chicken sitting in them while its cooking. The result: deliciously crispy skin!

This week I will be submitting this recipe to Weekend Herb Blogging which is being hosted by Truffle at What's On My Plate.


Continue reading "The Sunday Roast" »

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