Thursday 10 February 2011

Tom Yum soup

- Sent from my HTC on 3 -

Tom Yum soup from Lemon Piri Piri Mussels

A couple of weeks ago, Papa brought home a bag of mussels. I love fresh mussels, and my appetite had been whetted in Cafe Rouge when someone else had some and I'd pinched one. I had never cooked them myself before, tho we've had them at home, but cooked by GodPapa. I found I was a tiny bit squeamish about cleaning them, but Papa was fine, tho I did realise this is the fiddly bit and I'm sure it took as long to prep them as it took to EAT them!
Anyway, Papa prepped them, and I fried onions, fennel seeds, and added a few tablespoons of a Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Lemon Piri Piri sauce we'd had in the cupboard for ages (probably since barbeque season.) Then I poured in some coconut milk and got it simmering. I seasoned the stock with some soy & fish sauces and a teaspoon of brown sugar.

Now we put the mussels into the pan and stirred the whole thing, covered it, and let it steam for 4 minutes.

After that time they were all open and looking glorious.

It was a Brownies night, so the kids had theoretically already eaten, but Littl'Un came nosily up to table, spotted the bivalves and got herself a plate...:D

They were spicy, lemony, full of flavour and VERY yummy! The actual mussels were WAY nicer than the ones in Cafe Rouge, which had been a tiny bit too fishy tasting for me, without that sweetness. These were perfectly cooked and really fresh and juicy. Littl'Un left us some, and Papa mopped up the gravy in his bowl with bread. I was kinda wishing for rice, as the effect was far more Far East than Portugese!

At the end of the meal, Littl'Un chose a few shells that we washed and she loves playing with them, tho the cat seems to find them very interesting too...

I then asked around and googled and found I could save the cooking liquor, so we froze that in a stock bag.

So this week, I bought some lovely raw prawns, and decided to capitalise on the flavour of the broth and try to bring it to a sort of tom yum soup.

So this time some snipped up spring onions and a stick of lemon grass I had in the freezer, and then once the flavours were released of those, the stock went in.
Pausing to taste, I found it had a real stab of heat, but the flavours needed building, so I added water and started compiling the flavours.
I added fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic and finally a shot of lime juice. There, I had it - zing: hot, sweet, sour! Perfect. So in went some mange tout, some snapped baby corn, pak choi stems, and then the prawns (deveined, which is a VERY annoying task) and a leaf of rice noodles, and then the pak choi leaves on top. Then I covered the pan and switched off the heat after 2 minutes. I wanted to put in some oriental mushrooms but couldn't get any I liked at the time.
I put out a bowl of coriander leaves to garnish and I have to say the bowl of soup looked and tasted really authentic. We used to go to a lovely place in Golders Green called Tiger Under the Table, and I remember their laksa and tom tum soups so well, and this was midway between both, so I was happy.
Just a shame I won't really be able to replicate the meals!!!

Monday 7 February 2011

making room for mushroom!

We had 3 gorgeous portobello mushrooms in our organic box delivery, and I was really pleased to see them. One of my favourite lunches is a nice soft brown roll filled with a butter-fried large mushroom, with maybe a rasher of bacon and some melted cheese perhaps. So, I used 2 of the 3 like this, giving one to GodPapa on a weekend lunchtime.
However, I wanted to try something different with the other one, especially as Papa and both girls are suspicious of cooked mushrooms, but mushrooms are so versatile and delicious, and I'd love them to learn to enjoy them.
Sainsbury's is doing a series of recipe sets which are 5 meals costing under £20 altogether, and they are pretty interesting and different and mostly pretty simple too, so I decided to try a few, though I knew some wouldn't really work for us. One was a recipe for a pizza, using bought bases, and salami and mushrooms as the topping with simple tinned tomato puree as the tomato base, so I thought it'd make a variation on the pizzas we usually make with a breadmachine dough and a sauce made from scratch. So I sliced up the mushroom and just presented it as the topping on offer, along with the lovely thin salami we use from the Sainsbury's Basics range, and the ready grated mozzarella which the kids find easier to use, and works out as better value anyway.
Well, the girls loved arranging their toppings on their pizzas, and ate the pizzas with delight, and Littl'Un even loved the leftovers cold the next day for her lunch after nursery!
I never would have imagined it would be that easy!