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Appetizer Recipes

12 April 2008

Panko Prawns: Delicious and Healthy!


All right, all right! Perhaps not healthy... exactly.

These little guys certainly were delicious, though. So you'll forgive me for getting a little bit carried away.

Nic published a panko post last year and I wasn't planning on posting another one tonight - that is until I popped one of these panko'd pleasers into my mouth and it almost burst it was so juicy!

Recently, I have been tending to Asian White Shrimp which I've found to be sweeter than Black Tiger Prawns. Black Tiger Prawns are said to possess firmer flesh, but I can tell you that the White ones I had tonight were plump and bursting with flavour.

Oh, and as for the indubitable health benefits: I figure that the prawn shells are very high in calcium, so if you eat the tails, your bones will be sure to thank you.

If you want to have a look at this embarrassingly simple recipe, click on the link to the Nic's post.

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" »

19 November 2007

Purple potato and artichoke chowder


Traditionally, a chowder is a milk-based soup flavoured with bacon and thickened with flour or saltine-like crackers. The soup can contain anything from seafood, to potatoes or whatever vegetables are available to the cook at the time.

I used artichokes, purple potatoes and some leeks. I slightly adapted the recipe I found on a website called SPUD which called for the use of soy milk instead of milk. Not this time though, I needed something a bit heartier than soy milk.


To give the soup a smoky flavour I used ground cumin and for some sweetness, I added fresh sweet basil. Just before serving, I added a generous shaving of Parmigiano Reggiano which gave the soup an extra kick.

If you don't have purple potatoes, not to worry as they don't seem to taste any different from normal potatoes, they just add a great flash of colour to the otherwise neutral shades of the chowder. These little purple gems are known as Purple Peruvian potatoes and were considered by the Inca to be food of the gods.

Their colour is gorgeous and holds pretty well despite being steamed and then boiled.   


Continue reading "Purple potato and artichoke chowder" »

18 August 2007

Pla Meuk Tod Gratiem: Thai Garlic Pepper Calamari


This was my first attempt at cooking squid. I have always been worried about over-cooking it so I have stayed away. However, after making this recipe, my worries vanished. The calamari was tender and succulent with the moist flesh coated in the delicious crunch of the golden garlic.

The recipe took 10 minutes to make and 3 minutes to completely demolish, it was so good.   


Pla Meuk Tod Gratiem Recipe

3 medium squid bodies, cleaned
3 tbs of fish sauce
1 tsp of ground white pepper
10-15 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs of tapioca starch
1 tbs of unbleached flour
3 cups of peanut oil
A handful of coriander to garnish
Sriracha Sauce (a popular Thai chili sauce) for dipping


  1. Wash the squid body well. It will be very slippery so hold on to it tightly. Pat dry well with a paper towel.
  2. Slice the squid to make calamari rings around 2cm wide.
  3. Place in a bowl and cover in fish sauce. Set aside for about 20 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, mince the garlic. Set aside.
  5. Mix the tapioca starch and flour in a bowl with the pepper.
  6. Drain the calamari rings of fish sauce, and dredge evenly in the flour and pepper mixture and then the garlic.
  7. When you're ready to fry the calamari, heat the oil to a medium high heat in a wok.
  8. Test the oil by dropping in a piece of garlic. It should sizzle and not burn. Watch out for hot spitting oil!
  9. Gently add about 4 calamari rings, one at a time, into the hot oil with a either a large slotted spoon or chopsticks.
  10. Fry the calamari for up to one minute or until the garlic turns a golden colour. Once the rings are ready, remove them with a slotted spoon and place gently on paper towels.
  11. Remove the pieces of garlic floating in the oil before the next batch of calamari goes in.
  12. Once the calamari is ready, serve on a plate and garnish with the coriander and serve with Sriracha sauce.

27 July 2007

Half time bites - Panko Prawns with Kewpie Mayo


Hello, Tastebuddies,

I'm Nic - Syrie's extremely lucky and much less talented other half. I think it's appropriate that this is my first contribution to her blog. I made these Panko Prawns in the half time break in the second Bledisloe Cup match last weekend (for the uninitiated, the Bledisloe Cup is the most fiercely contested Rugby prize in the world - with the possible exception of the World Cup - and New Zealand and Australia play for it annually). So they took about 5 minutes from prep to bite.

For those of you who haven't Panko'd before, Panko is Japanese for breadcrumb. Panko crumbs are a bit different to normal crumbs, though - they are very light and a little larger than the granulated crumbs we're used to. I have used panko in non-asian dishes (on herb and mustard crusted lamb cutlets) and it's worked out a treat.

Next in our glossary of terms is Kewpie. Kewpie mayo is Japanese mayonnaise. It's sweet and creamy, but not like the horrible sweetness of Miracle Whip. That's really all I can tell you. Next time you're having sushi, ask the waiter to bring you some mayo. They'll bring Kewpie and then you'll know what I mean.

Panko Prawns with Kewpie Mayo

A dozen prawns - get a decent size: they're juicy;
Flour, Egg and Panko (enough for dipping rolling and dipping the prawns in);
Kewpie Mayo.

So this is a 5-step process and it's all over in about 5 minutes. (Actually I forgot about shelling the prawns...Ok, add another 5 minutes - you're still done before the second half begins).


  1. Set out the flour, beaten egg and Panko;
  2. Heat some oil (vege, maze, corn, etc) in a large pot on the stove on high heat for deep frying;
  3. Coat the prawns in the flour, egg and Panko (in that order); and
  4. Put them in the hot oil for about 2 minutes.
  5. Remove the prawns with a dry, steel slotted spoon or strainer, put them on some paper towels for a minute while you put the Kewpie in a bowl...and then sit back and watch the Wallabies get Panko'd.

11 July 2007

Italian Night


Bocconcini pronounced [Bokh-khon-CHEE-Nee] is Italian for 'mouthful'. That is exactly what we had last night; delectable mouthfuls of Insalata Caprese, otherwise known as Bocconcini and Tomato Salad. We recently splashed out on some Domaines Bunan First Press Olive Oil so we tested it out with the salad. The result was excellent. This rare oil comes from 100 year-old trees of the Domaines Bunon in Provence. The olives produce a sweet, full-flavoured oil with a very clean taste. Perfect for summer salads!

I cannot remember the name of the Balsamic we use but it is very sweet and the bottle (pictured in the photograph) had a red label on the cork which means it was aged for 12 years. I am pretty certain it is was produced in Modena in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.

The basil came straight from our herb 'garden'.


I used fresh pasta for this scrumptious dish and you can really notice the difference. The pasta was called Angel Hair but is was a lot thicker than usual. You have to be really careful not to overcook fresh pasta as the soft wheat has a lot less gluten in it than commerically made dry pasta, so it can become very limp and flabby.

The first thing to do for this recipe is prepare the tomato sauce. This part takes two hours so get cracking!

Continue reading "Italian Night" »

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