Thursday, August 03, 2006

Inspired




Inspired from my trip, I decided to cook a meal for my friends last Saturday which turned out more to be a banquet from the sheer effort. I don’t know what made me think I could make 3 relishes, 1 soup and 5 mains in one day! It’s the darn cookbook I tell you. Ironically, it was written and compiled by a farang - a brilliant Australian chef by the name of David Thompson (no relation to Jim). It has the most impressive and extensive compilation of recipes after searching through many books in Bangkok. It truly is inspiring. I like reading the history of where the recipes came from and on the person whose version it was.

Being the Virgo that I am, I thought it best to start preparing all the pastes. Frankly, I am still not convinced about pounding vs blending. Yes its all very earth mother but does it really make that much of difference? I don't think so lor. Still, I did enjoy getting lost in concentration. It was very therapeutic. I started on Thursday, first thing on the list was a coconut relish which had a lot of lemongrass, chilli and coconut, obviously. I quite liked it but wasn't sure it was going to go all that well with chopped vegetables. On Friday I had to pick up the paste, oops pace I mean. Har har. I made chiang mai pork relish amongst others. I even made my own dried shrimp. The traditional way sounded rather unhygienic considering I live in the city and have dogs. There was no way I was going to “dry it in the sun” for 2 days. Instead, 4 hours in the oven was just as good! I was a bit disappointed by the relish. It just tasted like sambal belacan with minced pork. Hmmm. Late that night, I marinated the pandan chicken and lovingly wrapped them in pandan leaves whilst watching Making The Band 3 on MTV. Hey, Friday night tv sucks! On some nervous energy high, I found myself restless yet I couldn’t bring myself to cook anymore so I baked instead! Deliciously decadent chocolate chip cookies. Nuts? Yes, I am.

On Saturday morning, I woke up panicking. There was still so much to be done! The damn beef panaeng was worrying. At 4pm, it was rock hard. At 6pm, it was rubbery at best. Thank god everyone was a little late because at 8pm, it was finally tender! Phew. The pandan chicken turned out to be really moist and tasty. I only fried it for a couple of minutes and left it to cook slowly in the oven because I needed stove space for frying the fish, braising another fish and heating up the pork ribs with jackfruit! The braised fish with caramel, celery and coriander was interesting. It was sweet, salty and herbaceous. Everyone liked the fried fish with the coconut relish. The pork ribs were not what I expected. It sounded a lot more intense and piquant, instead it was quite mild and subtle. The prawn salad with kaffir lime dressing was quite yummy but I didn’t realise how punchy the ginger was. I put in quite a bit without tasting it first. It was fast track to a sore throat! I enjoyed the beef and mangosteen soup the most. It was a startlingly delicious combination. Tender beef rump with a sweet and tangy hit of mangosteen.

Plucky Duck and Bruce brought apom and jackfruit for dessert because I had told them earlier that I wasn’t going to make any. However, I am kiasu (and crazy) and tried out a recipe for steamed soy milk curd from Babe In The City. I omitted the vanilla and used palm sugar instead to make it more local. It was pretty good and I loved the wobbly consistency. Easy peasy! All in all it was a great night. I was happy that my mum and friends enjoyed themselves. Although I am sure even if they didn’t like it, they wouldn’t have dared said anything for fear that I might just burst into tears from the 3 days of chopping, pounding and cooking!

2 comments:

  1. It was a FAB meal, I think you should do it more often...comprehensive book you say...why not try every recipe in it!

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  2. Sounds like a wonderful meal. I've only tried one recipe from that book so far and this beef and mangosteen sounds yummy. Must go search for it as I do see mangosteens around.

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