Smoked Chicken, Wild Mushrooms, Sweet Basil, Coconut & Galangal Soup

Poached chicken, coconut & galingal soup (photo by Kaleem Hyder)

Photo from Farang by Kaleem Hyder

I have just spent the weekend in sunny Birmingham at the BBC Good Food Show cooking with the Thai Embassy on the Thai World Stage to help promote Thai produce and cuisine. I’ve never been to Birmingham before, although I have to say it felt like more like Kingston, Jamaica at 34 degrees- it’s been an absolute scorcher!

The show was a good crack actually, apart from it taking place at the NEC in Birmingham which has to be one of the most boring places on the planet- it reminded me of the film ‘The Truman Show’, where you feel you will walk through a door and hit a cardboard cut out of another door if you’re not careful. All the same the show was great and I’ve come back excited to get another recipe up on ‘Articuleat‘.

In this heat I wanted to cook something quick, effortless, light and tasty as fuck so I went for this soup. This soup can be made in many different variations, a few of which can be found in my book ‘Cook Thai‘ if you ever feel like giving them a go. It only takes a few bits and pieces and around 10-15 minutes to make and all of the ingredients can be found easily in most supermarkets these days. If you’re feeling really exotic throw in some king prawns to this soup too- awesome!

Ingredients Serves 2 / Vegetarian option

1 chicken breast, skin and fat removed, sliced into rough 2cm by 2cm pieces, directions for smoking in recipe  (do not use if vegetarian, ha)

1/4 butternut squash, roughly 50g, peeled and sliced into rough 2cm by 2 cm pieces (pumpkin can be used instead)

8 Thai Shallots, peeled and slightly bruised in a pestle

2 green birds eye chillies, bruised in a pestle

2 kaffir lime leaves, torn slightly

2 sticks lemongrass, chopped into 2 cm long pieces and bruised in a pestle

10g, galangal, peeled and chopped into 2 cm long pieces and bruised in a pestle

2 coriander roots, cleaned, washed and bruised in a pestle

½ teaspoon coarse sea salt

2-3 tablespoons fish sauce (soy sauce if vegetarian)

200ml chicken stock (vegetable stock if vegetarian)

300ml coconut cream

10g, Thai sweet basil (normal basil will do)

50g, assorted wild mushrooms (I use enoki, shittaki and emoji mushrooms)

1 lime, juiced

Method

Before I get started with the recipe I’ll delve a little into explaining how to smoke the chicken. In this recipe I cold smoke my chicken which can be done very easily when you’re at home. This means that I will be adding the smoke flavour from the wood to the meat, without cooking it. All you need is some smoking wood chips, a pan, a colander and some cling film. Place a small handful of wood chips into the pan and heat the pan up until the wood chips set alight within the pan. Once this happens put the flames out with a little water, this will cause the chips to smoke heavily. at this stage place the chicken in the colander and then put the colander upon the smoking pan, then quickly cling film the whole thing so it is air tight with no smoke leaving the cling film. This will leave the chicken inside a smoke vacuum, with minimal oxygen so the wood chips will not be hot but will smoke a lot. If this is left untouched for 20 minutes the smokey flavour would have penetrated the meat, the longer you leave it the smokier the flavour.

Firstly, in a small sauce pan bring a little water to the boil and then submerge the squash into it, then turn down to a simmer, continue to gently cook for around 3-4 minutes until soft but not quite cooked and then remove from the heat and put aside for a few minutes (at this stage you might as well leave it in the hot water as we are to use it straight away).

Next place the chicken stock, 100ml of the coconut cream, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, sea salt, galangal, coriander roots, birds eye chillies, lemongrass, lime leaves, butternut squash and Thai shallots and mushrooms into a medium sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Once simmering add the chicken pieces and continue to cook gently for 4-5 minutes until all chicken is cooked and all vegetables have softened with flavours infused.

Finish by adding the rest of the coconut cream and the sweet basil and the dishing out into bowls. Lastly check the seasoning, it should be creamy, salty, a little spicy, aromatic with a fresh hint of lime at the end, adjust if needs be.

Thanks very much for stopping by at ‘Articuleat’ and I hope you have enjoyed your stay. I always look forward to your feedback so please don’t hesitate to get in touch for any reason whatsoever – I will reply as swiftly as possible.

 

See you next time,

Eat Well,

Sebbyholmes

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Tomato, Mascarpone & Chorizo Pureed with Chicken, Herb Potatoes and Butter Beans

Tomato, Mascarpone & Chorizo Pureed with Chicken, Herb Potatoes and Butter BeansFor the last few weeks I have been waking up with chorizo on the mind – Weird! I know, however with the recent heat wave it’s a necessary ingredient to compliment the sunshine (well – for me anyway).

I have had an incredibly busy few weeks at the begging bowl recently, so I apologise for my brief break in content. I sometimes wonder if I am working in a small Thai restaurant in Peckham, or cooking for tourists on the busy streets of Bangkok- where do all the people come from?

Anyway back to my dish. The chosen flavour combinations are that of a traditional Italian meal, fresh, vibrant and bloody tasty. The key to this dish is simple complexity, think about every cooking stage and ingredient as part of a story, which all result in a deliciously happy ending. Each process adds something to the dish which contributes to the tale.

I decided to use the natural fat from the chorizo to roast my tomatoes as the infusion of flavour acts as nothing but a benefit when pureeing the two with mascarpone. It is also a must to use vine cherry tomatoes as, when roasted the flesh steams within the skin creating a sharp, sweet flavour making them a perfect addition to this smoky, creamy purée. Another little trick to retain the strong flavour of the chorizo is to add it to a sizzling hot tray straight out the oven, this will cause the meat to instantly release its fat (a suspicion of oil can be coated around the chorizo to help it out, however the less olive oil the better – we want to taste the chorizo fat). Then place the tomatoes in, still attached to the vine, vine side down in the chorizo fat then roast. This adds an amazing zingy freshness to the dish which cannot be obtained through only using the tomato. If you have never done it before, (I hadn’t until recently) hold the vine to your nose and sniff – it has an amazing smell which you would not have expected from something so commonly discarded as waste.

This recipe consists of some simple elegant flavours that, to me have to be eaten in the sunshine. If you are not fortunate to find yourself in this position, then shut your eyes and allow the taste to whisk you away to somewhere hot (or just forget about that crap and enjoy your dinner). That’s enough from me for now so read on and I hope you enjoy my recipe, as always I love getting feedback so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or ask any questions.

(Serves 2, takes 30-40 minutes with spare herb oil)

Ingredients

-2 chicken breasts

-200g, chorizo, diced and lightly coated in olive oil

-250g, vine cherry tomatoes, on the vine

-60g, mascarpone cheese

-2 potatoes, diced into 1cm/1cm cubes

-25g, coriander, roughly chopped

-25g, mint, roughly chopped

-25g, basil, roughly chopped

-70g, white butter beans

– 1 garlic clove, peeled

-100ml, olive oil

-1 pinch Maldon sea salt

-1 pinch cracked black peppercorns

-20g, unsalted butter

Method

1. Firstly place a pyrex tray in a hot oven, pre-heated to 200 degrees. When hot, carefully remove from the oven and place the chorizo in the hot tray, then return to the oven for 2 minutes (this will render the fat from the chorizo so less oil can be used Remove from the oven once more and place the tomatoes into the hot fat, vine side down (to infuse the mixture with the freshness of the tomato vine). Lastly place the chicken breasts into the hot fat, cover with tin foil and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes. Lastly remove one last time, flip the chicken breasts, remove the tin foil and return to the oven for 5 minutes – check the chicken is piping hot throughout before serving.

2. Meanwhile make the herb potatoes. Bring a pan of water with a pinch of salt to the boil then turn down to a simmer. Place the diced potatoes in the water to blanch for 3 minutes, remove from the heat and refresh in cold water to stop the cooking process. Next heat a little oil on a high heat in a large base, non-stick frying pan, when hot add the potatoes and continue to move regularly until they start to turn golden brown (roughly 8-10 minutes). Once they are starting to colour toss with the butter, mint and basil until all potatoes are coated. Remove from heat.

3. For this dish the butter beans are to be cooked in coriander oil as the two flavours infuse in the pan, creating a great contribution to this dish. In a food processor add the salt, pepper, coriander, garlic 100ml olive oil the blitz until combine into a single mixture. Then heat a little of the oil (save some for a garnish) on a medium heat, not high or you will brown the coriander, when hot coat the butter beans in the herb oil in the pan then remove.

4. Lastly, make the puree. Take the tomatoes off the vine and add to a food processor with the chorizo and the mascarpone, then combine to a puree. The result will be a sweet, smoky, salty, creamy puree that is irresistible. Once complete place the puree on a plate with the herb potatoes and butter beans on top. Finish with the chicken breast, a good dollop of herb oil and some fresh herb leaves as a garnish – then enjoy.

Tomato, Mascarpone & Chorizo Pureed with Chicken, Herb Potatoes and Butter BeansThanks very much for stopping by at Articuleat and I hope you have enjoyed your stay. I always look forward to your feedback so please don’t hesitate to get in touch for any reason whatsoever – I will reply as swiftly as possible.

See you next time,

Eat Well,

Sebbyholmes

Thai Infused Sticky Pork Ribs with Lime & Coriander

Thai Infused Sticky Pork Ribs with Lime & CorianderIf I was told that the world will end tomorrow I would have one thing on my mind, “shit! What am I going to eat for dinner?” One of the ingredients racing through my mind that had to be eaten one more time would be sticky pork ribs. Pork being the most widely eaten meat in the world, I’m sure that I’m not alone in thinking this recipe is worthy of a last supper.

I happened to have a little spare kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy) leftover from a previous recipe, so I used it as a base for my rib marinade. Lemongrass, fresh chillies, white peppercorns and kaffir lime leaf all come together to make this marinade a Thai sensation.  The inclusion of all these typically Thai ingredients gives the rib meat a flavour balance consisting of sweet, salty and hot that is to die for – if you are anything like me and my flat mate you will keep eating until it hurts.

Now first things first, what are all the different cuts of meat that come from a pork rib? If you are anything like me you probably assume that a pork rib is a pork rib, which change in size as they follow the spine. However this is just a milestone in the labyrinth that is pork rib cuts. So let me squeeze it into a nutshell for you so we all have a clearer understanding for the future.

Right, so pigs have fourteen rib bones attached to their spine, which most popularly are split into four cuts of meat; baby-back ribs, spare ribs, St Louis cut ribs (spare baby-back ribs) and rib tips.

Starting from the top are the baby-backs, closest to the back bone. These are distinguishable by their curved shape and small bone. The meat found at the top of these ribs is said to be the most tender. As you move further down the spine the ribs become larger, flatter and wider with more meat between each rib – these are known as the spare ribs. There are endless ways to order this cut of meat e.g. 3 & up, 4 & over, this is just butcher slang for the weight of a cut of spare ribs (you still with me?).

We then come to the spare baby-back ribs. These are not the same as baby back ribs, nor do they necessarily come from young tender pigs. These are spare ribs made smaller by removing the rib tips (which can be eaten as small, roughly three centimeter long bones). These are more commonly known as St. Louis cut ribs, nonetheless some butchers call them baby spareribs to capitalise on the popularity of baby back ribs. Anyway lecture over and hopefully, as I did, we have all learned something new about pork ribs.

For this dish I used a whole rack of pork ribs straight from the abattoir for me and my flat mate to pig out on (excuse the pun). Now the meat from a rib is subject to lots of movement during life, as a result of the animal breathing. For this reason if you throw them straight onto a barbecue, eating them will resemble chewing the grip off of a tennis racket. Unless this is your thing? We will try and avoid this by cooking the ribs low and slow until they are tender enough to melt in your mouth.

That’s enough from me for today so get stuck in and enjoy your dinner.

(Serves 2-3 people, takes 3 hours with minimal effort)

Ingredients

-1 rack, pork ribs

-300ml, kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy) found in most oriental supermarkets and large supermarkets).

-1 stick, lemongrass, sliced wafer thin

-2 fresh, long red chillies, thinly sliced

-2 fresh long green chillies, thinly sliced

– 1 fresh birds eye chilli, thinly sliced

-2 kaffir lime leaf, thinly sliced, stems removed

– 2 tbsp, white peppercorns, spice grinded or pestle and mortared to a powder

-2tbsp, cumin seeds, spice grinded or pestle and mortared to a powder

-1 fresh lime

-1 handful (roughly 75g) coriander, washed and picked

Method

  1. This is the beauty of cooking ribs in this way, it takes minutes to throw together so all you have to do is wait for the magic to happen.  Firstly pre heat your oven to 180 degrees. Whilst that heats, make the marinade by combining the kecap manis, lemongrass, kaffir lime, chillies, cumin and white peppercorns into one mixture.
  2. Next coat the ribs in the marinade, using your hands to rub all the meat with the mixture. Now at this stage if you are prepared the meat can be left in the fridge (ideally for 6 hours) to marinate. However if you are hungry, cover them in tin foil and put them straight in the oven, cook for 2 ½ to 3 hours until the meat is tender and falling off the bone.
  3. If you are barbecuing, the ribs can be taken straight out of the oven and placed on the barbecue grill to colour, basting regularly with the leftover marinade. If not, place the ribs on a plate and garnish with lime wedges and coriander. These ribs are great served with some steamed jasmine rice.

Thai Infused Sticky Pork Ribs with Lime & CorianderThanks very much for stopping by at Articuleat and I hope you have enjoyed your stay. I always look forward to your feedback so please don’t hesitate to get in touch for any reason whatsoever – I will reply as swiftly as possible.

See you next time,

Eat Well,

Sebbyholmes

Fresh Strawberry and Mint Summer Creams

Fresh Strawberry and Mint Summer Creams

Hi everyone and welcome to my second Articuleat blog post. After the recent spell of sunshine; accompanied hand in hand by some incredibly busy days in the begging bowl kitchen, I thought the moment called to make something homely to eat.

Mint – strawberries – cream, now that’s a British flavour combination for the gods. It’s a great time to be using fresh mint as, although available all year round, it’s fuller in flavour during the warmer months. Some also say that the herb’s antibacterial qualities are heightened during the summer season (that’s enough to win me) so get stuck in.

Since we are getting all scientific it’s also worth mentioning that strawberries are currently in season and rich in nitrate, this can increase the blood flow, giving your body a head start when you exercise.

So anyway that’s enough from me and hopefully I have succeeded in making you feel less guilty when divulging in this smooth, sweet, creamy dessert. Now you are aware of the health benefits of a few of the ingredients, you can forget about the cream, sugar and eggs? After all the summer is here for a good time, not a long time.

(serves 4, takes 1 – 1 ½ hours)

Ingredients

-450ml, double cream

-5 free-range eggs, yolks only

-75g, caster sugar

-400g, strawberries, roughly chopped

-20g, mint, roughly chopped

Method

  1. Firstly pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees. Place small dishes into a deep baking tray and pour hot water into the tray, until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the dishes (this is called a bain-marie). Place the bain-marie into the oven to pre-heat.
  2. Meanwhile place the sugar and the strawberries in a pan with a dash of water (1tbspn) and place onto a high heat. Continue to stir this regularly until the strawberries and sugar have combined to make one mixture (essentially a coolè). Once combined put aside to cool until room temperature.
  3. Once cool beat this with the egg yolks until all is combined in a large mixing bowl. Next pour the cream into a heavy bottomed pan and bring to a simmer on a medium heat (be sure not to boil it). Once simmering, remove from the heat and slowly whisk into the cold strawberry and sugar mixture (it is important to make sure the strawberry mixture is cold or it will scramble the eggs – unless strawberry scrambled eggs is your thing?).
  4. Next fold in the chopped mint and pour the summer creams into the small dishes (bain-marie) for about 30-35 minutes, until set firm but still with a slight wobble. Once ready remove from the oven and either serve immediately or place in the fridge to be enjoyed another time.
  5. Lovely served as a dessert or accompanied by some fresh mint tea. Garnish with more fresh strawberries and a few mint sprigs and enjoy.

Fresh Strawberry and Mint Summer Creams

Thanks very much for stopping by at Articuleat and I hope you have enjoyed your stay. I always look forward to your feedback so please don’t hesitate to get in touch for any reason whatsoever – I will reply as swiftly as possible.

See you next time,

Eat Well,

Sebbyholmes