Thai red curry paste – new improved version

3 lemongrass stalks
10 fresh red chilies (seeded and sliced)
115 g red onions or shallots (chopped)
4 garlic cloves
1 cm piece fresh galangal (peeled, sliced and bruised)
stems from 4 fresh coriander springs
1 – 2 tbsp. grape seed oil
1 tsp. grated citrus rind
1 tsp. shrimp paste (wrapped in foil and warmed in a frying pan)
1 tbsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. salt

My darling did this recipe old school style, with a mortar and a pestle. You can use food processor for making this paste. Also you’ll need nut grinder or mortar for making a powder of coriander and cumin seeds.

Slice the tender, lower portion of the lemongrass stalks and bruise them with a cleaver. Put them in a large mortar and add chilies, onions, garlic, galangal and coriander stems.

Grind with a pestle, gradually adding the oil until the mixture forms a paste. Alternatively, puree the ingredients in a food processor or blender. Add the citrus rind and the shrimp paste. Mix well.

Dry-fry the coriander and cumin seeds in a frying pan.  Grind them to a powder in nut grinder. Stir the powder into the spice paste, add the salt. Mix well.

Use the paste immediately or scrape into a glass jar. Cover with clear film (plastic wrap) and airtight lid, then store in a refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.

Recipes and inspirations:
Zucchini Spaghetti with Scallops in a Thai red curry

Sweet red carrots

250 g red carrots
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. muscovado sugar
pinch of salt
1/3 cup water
Half or quarter the carrots lengthwise. Blanche them in boiling salty water for minute or two. Drain. Put them in a sauté pan with the butter, salt, sugar, and water. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the carrots are tender and the liquid has reduced to a glaze.

French Lentils with Pecans and Goat Cheese

1 cup French green lentils (lentilles du Puy)
1 bay leaf
1 sprig thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion (finely chopped)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
50 g pecans (toasted)
100 g fresh goat cheese

Cook the lentils, on low heat, in 1+1/2 cup of water with bay leaf and thyme for about 20 – 30 minutes, or until tender but not over cooked. All the liquid should be absorbed, if not drain off any excess.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan and fry the onion until soft and golden. Add the garlic for one minute, then deglaze the pan with a balsamic vinegar. When the lentils are cooked, toss them with the onion, season with salt and pepper and put them in a serving dish. Scatter over the nuts and pinches of cheese.

Every recipe from Laura Calder was big success in our kitchen. This meal is very gentle in taste, each ingredient has its own distinctive aroma, yet they combine wonderful flavor mix. In original recipe she uses walnuts instead of pecans and walnut oil for seasoning.
This was super tasty, it deserves one more photo:-)

Lemon grass rice with cardamom

1 cup basmati rice (rinsed and drained)
1 lemon gras stalk (outer leaves removed, cut into 3 pieces)
6 cardamm pods (bruised)
2 cups water

Cook the rice with lemon grass and cardamom in a rice cooker or on a stove. When done, season with salt, cover and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Here, sprinkled with fresh chives and served with Pork tenderloin au poivre and chayote tops.

Coconut and nutmeg ice cream

This is super, super, super….easy. And SUPER tasty!
Our new Red Hot Cookbook is a treasure!

1 can (400 g) evaporated (unsweetened condensed) milk
1 can (400 g) sweetened condensed milk
1 can (400 g) coconut milk
freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
toasted shredded coconut for decoration

Mix together evaporated, condensed and coconut milk in a large freezer proof bowl and stir in the nutmeg and vanilla essence.

Chill in a freezer for about an hour or two until the mixture is semi-frozen.

Remove from the freezer and whisk the mixture with a hand blender until it is fluffy and almost doubled in volume.

Pour into a container and freeze.

Serve sprinkled with toasted shredded coconut.

Lemon asparagus risotto

First cook the asparagus, then risotto and at the end combine all together with lemon zest!

Asparagus
400 g asparagus
splash of olive oil
4 cloves garlic minced
salt and pepper

Risotto
4 cups homemade vegetable stock
splash of olive oil
1 onion (minced)
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
zest of one lemon
1/3 cup or more grated Parmesan cheese

Cut off the asparagus tops and reserve them. Chop the stems into bit size pieces. Heat the oil over medium heat and add the stem pieces and cook five minutes. Add the garlic and the asparagus tips. Pour over 1/4 cup water, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender, 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the asparagus. Set aside.

Heat the oil in the pan and sauté onion until gold and soft. Add the rice and cook for few minutes, until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add in the wine and reduce until almost dry. Add a ladle of stock and cook, stirring, until it disappears. Continue, a ladle at a time, until the rice is tender and creamy, about half an hour.

Remove from the heat and stir through the asparagus, lemon zest, and half the cheese. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Spoon into bowls and scatter over the remaining cheese to serve.

Fantastic recipe by Laura Calder.

Pasta Puttanesca in progress

We eat it, in spite the fact that it wasn’t tasty. The recipe needs improvement.

6 garlic cloves (minced)
1 tin flat anchovy fillets (drained)
1/2 tsp. homemade chili flakes
handful of black olives (pitted, chopped)
3 tbsp. capers
1 can diced tomatoes (drained)
1 can whole tomatoes (blended into sauce)
1 tbsp. dried oregano
black pepper
splash of olive oil
handful flat leaf parsley (chopped)
350 g bavette pasta

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add pasta and cook according to the directions on the package.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over a medium heat. Add the garlic and anchovies and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add oregano and chili flakes, and stir in. Add the olives, capers and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
Combine sauce with cooked pasta and 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water. Stir in the parsley. Garnish with few olives.

Boiled Edamame

Edamame, or green soybeans are often served as appetizers in Japanese restaurants.

500 – 750 g frozen edamame in pods
3 tbsp. or more salt (the water for cooking must be sea-like salty)

Boil lots of water in a large pot, add salt. Put edamame in the boiling water and bring to boil, cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until softened. Drain edamame in a colander. Taste and if it’s not salty enough, sprinkle more salt over boiled edamame. Spread them on a flat tray to cool.

Inspiring greens

Inspired with good amount of beautiful greens brought from the market.

The recipe goes something like this:

green and purple lettuce
wild arugula
green and purple basil
little bit of fresh marjoram
pine nuts and pecans (toasted)
sunflower and pumpkin seeds (toasted)
black and white sesame seeds (toasted)
flax and onion seeds (toasted)
equal amount of ginger and garlic (chopped finely)
marinated feta cheese
goat feta cheese
divine vinaigrette

Mix all ingredients in a big, BIG bowl! Serve on a balcony during a sunny day.