COOK - BAKE - LEARN - SMILE

Chicken Broccoli and Cashew Nut Stir Fry


This is a great Monday night meal, 15 minutes of prep and 10 minutes cooking.

By the time that the Thai Jasmine rice is ready, the chicken and cashew nut stir fry is practically ready to be served.

I like my stir fries chilli hot so added some Numex Twilight and Little Elf chilli varieties from the garden. These chillies have a bit more heat and flavour compared to your supermarket bought Birdseye chillies.

I bought the chicken breasts on the bone, which is significantly cheaper than buying prepared breasts. It only takes a moment to cut the breast bone off and to remove the skin!

Dry roasting the cashew nuts really brings out their flavour and helps to release their natural oils.

The sauce is simple, again using the Sweet soy sauce that I am ever so fond of.

I would have preferred to have used Thai Basil instead of normal basil, but with the onset of autumn, I no longer have a ready supply from the garden.

Chicken Cashew Nut and broccoli Stir Fry : Last shot

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Thai Basil Fried Pork


This dish is a firm family favourite - both with the chef and the diners!

It is both quick to make and tastes delicious.

It has all the classic Thai attributes, fragrant, sweet, spicy and salty.

The Thai basil provides the perfect back drop with its delicious aniseed flavour.

This recipe would work equally well with chicken.

I like to serve mine garnished with Spicy hot peanuts. (This is less traditional, as the Thai’s generally do not cook with peanuts anymore, due to them being difficult to keep in a hot environment, and linked to disease coming from a fungus).

Otherwise this would traditionally be served with a fried egg placed on top, similar to Nasi Goreng.

Thai Basil Fried Pork : Close Up

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Chicken Yakitori


I am always making kebabs. I think the thing that most appeals is the simplicity and speed of cooking coupled with a never ending variation of flavours. For a weekday meal kebabs are perfect, as the preparation is rarely more than 10 minutes, and then you can walk away and get on with something else until ready to cook.

These kebabs are Japenese inspired Yakitori. The sweet sticky marinade keeps the chicken moist and delicious. The Asian Slaw served along side works fantastically well - with a real lift provided by the toasted sesame seeds.

The recipe would work very well cooked quickly on a BBQ.

The were extras left, so they made a delicious packed lunch the following day!

Chicken Yakitori : Another Close Up


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Asian Slaw


Tangy Asian inspired slaw to go with the
Chicken Yakitori.

Asian Slaw : Close Up


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Clam Linguine


Phew! It is great to be back and to be able to update the website again. Alas, my web solution could not handle the photo content adequately, so I have had to upload and rewrite the entire recipe blog to Flickr. I hope moving forward this a robust and scalable solution - as it has taken me 8 days to relink 1300 photos!

So, I am going in time order, catching up with recipes. To kick off the new and improved blog, a delicious Clam Linguine.

This is one of the ultimate quick and easy meals. The entire dish is cooked in less time that it takes for the Linguine to be ready.

The delicious ozone sea smells and taste combined with a subtle chilli kick, make this one of my all time favourite dished.

Although it should not be necessary to de-grit the clams - the bag that I purchased had obviously not been properly cleaned, as the water went cloudy within 10 minutes of the clams being added. If this happens, keep replacing the salted water with a fresh batch.

Clam Vongole : Close Up


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Authentic Sri Lankan Lamb Curry


A delicious, simple and fiery Lamb Curry.

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Monkfish Curry, Potato and Spinach Patties, Sag Aloo and Onion Bhajis


A full blown Indian inspired meal. The monkfish curry is aromatic and does not overwhelm the beautiful fish.

The sides can all be made in advance, and heated when needed. The sides make a great mid week snack Happy

Monkfish Curry



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Fragrant and Hot Lamb Curry and Aromatic Rice


With a large slab of lamb shoulder left from the butcher’s course, I decided that I wanted to make a fragrant lamb curry.

The lamb has been marinated for 8 hours in yoghurt along with almond flour and spices. Afterwards the lamb was cooked slowly for 12 hours until it falls apart as the spoon stirs the bowl!

The smell as this cooked in the oven was incredible, permeating throughout the house.

12 red chills add a kick, but the flavours are fragrant and subtle and not overwhelming.

Fragrant and Hot Lamb Curry and Aromatic Rice : Side Shot


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Leftover Chicken and Prawn Tom Yum


Was feeling a little inspired today and wanted to make an authentic Tom Yum. My parents have lived in Thailand for many years, and I like to think that my recipes are pretty close to the real thing. I was lucky enough to help make a Fish Tom Yum on the beach in Hau Hin as a treat for being a regular!

With access to a good Asian greengrocers, such as
Thai Smile, or even a decent supermarket these days, the main stumbling blocks to these recipes have been removed. Sainsbury’s in Chiswick stocks fresh Tamarind, decent Thai Chillies and Kaffir Lime Leaves. The lemongrass, lime leaves, galangal, Thai basil and tamarind freeze really well - I keep them in a freezer bag and pull out when needed (can be prepared frozen with a sharp knife).

There are many ways to make Tom Yum broth, I like to base mine on lemongrass, fish sauce and galangal. This recipe is
HOT - unless you like the real deal I strongly advise you to half the amount of chilli. I had rivers of sweat running down my face - just like when I visit Thailand!

The broth will serve 4, and you can pretty much add what you like. I had some frozen Tiger prawns in the freezer, and used half a roast chicken breast from the weekend roast.

Tom Yum : Finished Dish (Side View)


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Tomato Salsa


A lovely zingy, spicy tomato salsa. Tastes great as a side to most summery dishes!

Originally served with the
Lamb Koftas.

Tomato Salsa


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Lamb Koftas, Mint Yoghurt Dressing, Tomato Salsa and Flatbreads


I love making these flatbread. Now the weather is warmer, it is so much easier to make and prove bread dough. These flatbread are so simple to make, stolen from the River Cottage, I think. Either way, there is no going back to stale pitta bread from the supermarkets.

I have experimented with almond flour, cumin, fresh coriander - every time a delicious puffy tasty flatbread.

The koftas, as you would expect with me, pack a punch in chilli. However, the parsley really helps to keep things balanced. Don’t worry though, the yoghurt dressing is so fresh and refreshing with the cucumber and mint - you will want more chilli than you add in!

This really does not take long to make - the flatbread dough will happily freeze and can be pulled out when required.

Kofta in flatbread


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Asian Inspired Prawn and Rice Noodle Salad


Quick, easy and tasty lunches have become a regular feature from the kitchen.

With no desire to eat additive filled, mayonnaise dripping shop bought sandwiches, it has become an evening ritual to make the next day’s lunch.

This Asian Inspired salad can be prepared in under ten minutes, and is extremely versatile, using whatever is in the fridge.

The dressing can be tweaked to your balance. It is the old classic of sweet, sour, spicy and salty. Play with the ratios of each for your preferred balance.

This will work equally well with left-over roast chicken for instance.

Asian Inspired Salad


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Pork and Prawn Spring Rolls


Spring rolls are easy to make, if you have a spare hour to two. Once you get into the swing of rolling the filling, it can become quite enjoyable - honest!

At £3 a pop for 6 from the supermarket, these infinitely more tasty and delicious spring rolls are a complete bargain! It also good to know you have used top quality ingredients and no MSG.

I like my spring rolls meaty but at the same time zingy - so I incorporate Kaffir Lime Leaf alongside the chilli and lemongrass.

The spring roll wrappers are easy to come by these days (definitely nor worth making!!!) - I have noticed Waitrose and Sainsbury’s occasionally sell them. I prefer to get them from
Thai Smile.

I hope you make these and enjoy Happy

Originally served with
Spicy Thai Minced Pork.

Pork and Prawn Spring Rolls : Enjoy


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Sesame Prawn Toast


Sesame Prawn Toast are simple to make - if you can make toast you can almost certainly make these!

If you are averse to frying, then place the Sesame Seed topped toast on a lined baking tray and cook for 25 minutes in the oven at gas mark 6.

It is staggering to think of the cost that the supermarkets charge for these delights. I use half a pack of peeled Tiger prawns for the toast, and the remainder goes to the Spring Rolls. (I generally make the two Chinese sides together, so that I only have to clean up once, and rid the house of fried oil smells!). This means for weeks to come, we can pull out a few nibbles from the freezer and chuck in the oven when we get peckish!

Do not buy the small jars of sesame seeds - you will spend a fortune. Instead, pick up a large packet from
Holland and Barrett or other seed and grain health stores.

This recipe requires no cornstarch or MSG, the egg white provides all the binding agent that you will need.

Delicious with a sweet Thai chilli dipping sauce.

Originally served with
Spicy Thai Minced Pork.

Sesame Prawn Toast : Close Up of Toast

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Spicy Thai Minced Pork


Being Thai New Year, Songkran, it seems only appropriate to recreate another of my favourite dishes.

This is a very typical Bangkok style, Spicy Thai Minced Pork. I have fond memories of eating this numerous times across Thailand. Once in a while it would be so hot only a beer could quench the burn! As with many chilli hot dishes, the more you eat the more you want to have more!

It is a perfect balance of hot, sour, sweet and salty.

It really does take minutes to make. Once you have prepped /the vegetables, it is really just a super quick stir fry.
(There is no reason why you could not use a food processor to finely diced the ingredients first).

The pork freezes exceptionally well, and can be reheated in the microwave.

Being a celebration, I served the pork in lettuce wraps. Keeping it finger food, I also made
Spring Rolls and Sesame Prawn Toast.

A great festive celebration and a taste-bud extravaganza.

Spicy Thai Minced Pork : Thai Banquet


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Succulent Sticky Pork Ribs with Spicy Smoked Potato Wedges and Fresh Salad with Mustard Dressing


Once in a while it is great to get your fingers sticky and eat your meat off the bone with your hands. In posher establishments, you may expect a lemon dipping bath - but round my house kitchen towel will suffice!

After much experimentation with various concoctions, this is my version of Sticky Pork Ribs.

The brining of the pork ribs really helps to keep the meat moist and succulent. The marinade, as you would expect with my cooking, is fiery, sweet and oh so sticky

These are quick to make and will definitely become a household favourite. Pork ribs are cheap to buy from the butcher, making this an economical meal. If you do not have ketchup manis and special mountain sauce, try a tablespoon of black treacle, a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce and a tablespoon of soy as a substitute.

I served the ribs with a tangy fresh salad dressed and mustard dressing,
jerked sweetcorn, coleslaw and some spicy smokey potato wedges. It was greatly appreciated having come home famished after hour flying in the indoor wind tunnel for an hour!

Succulent Sticky Pork : Side On


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Quick Guacamole


This a a quick and delicious accompaniment to
Chilli Con Carnie or Hamburgers for instance! Also a wonderful way to use up old avocado and tomatoes!

Dice all the vegetables, mix in the creme fraiche and top with chilli. Job done!

Originally served with
Lazy Leftover Chilli Nachos.

Guacamole : Catch Up


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Lazy Leftover Chilli Nachos!


I love leftovers, and I love coming up with three or four different ways to serve the same meal.

The chilli is extremely hot, but works really well with the cooling and soothing sour cream.

This is very easy and quick to make, no longer than 20 minutes. It was ideal, pulling the
chilli from the freezer and making such a simple and light meal after a full blown Easter lunch!

The flour tortilla crisp up brilliantly in the oven, and do not have all the extra salt that packet bought varieties contain.

Nachos : On the Plate


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Tuna Sweetcorn Pasta Salad


I love tuna and sweetcorn pasta. There is something so wholesome and tasty about the combination. I like to funk the recipe up with spring onion and hot red chilli.

It takes such little effort to make, tastes fresh, zingy and delicious, and one can will serve 2 people for two lunches. What is not too like?

If you are looking for variety on this recipe, then may I suggest apple and celery as alternative additions.

Make sure to keep the pasta al dente - otherwise it will not survive in the fridge very well after a day.

Season well - nothing worse than bland pasta salad!

I add the mayonnaise to the serving plate and mix through - when I am ready to eat the pasta salad - otherwise I find it can go a little gloopy and less appetising! After all this is meant to be a quick and easy lunch solution!

The pasta salad is really good without the mayo anyways
Happy

Tuna Pasta Salad : Close Up 2


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Oven Cooked Pulled Pork


I have never tasted, let alone tried to make pulled pork before!

Whether this has an authentic taste, I really cannot say! What I can say is that it tastes darn good! :-p I basically looked across the net for inspiration and then developed my own recipe. Almost all the recipes I looked at were based on Dr Pepper or a Cola base - so I followed suit
smiley_smile The dry rub seems to be one of those family secret affairs - where people only allude to a couple of the flavours.

Almost every recipe also called for shop bought BBQ sauce to be added to the pulled pork for the last hour of cooking. Personally, I could not see the point of going to the effort of developing all this flavour and then masking it - so this step was omitted.

The final results were delicious. The pork has a fantastic depth of flavour, is moist, tender and out of this world delicious. Considering this was neither slow cooked nor seen a BBQ, the outer bark of the pork was fantastically crispy, tangy and extremely tasty.

As a first attempt, as you can tell, I am very pleased. Roll on the BBQ season.

Pulled Pork : Serve in Baps


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Vietnamese Pulled Pork and Prawn Pho


If there is one dish that reminds me of my travels abroad and love of discovering new food, then this is the dish.

I think it is the fusion of traditional French cooking coupled with the balanced use of Vietnamese spices, citrus and herbs that I adore so much.

Traditionally, this would be made using beef bones - but I could not get any from the butchers on the day I wanted to make this. Fortunately, I had a batch of roast chicken bone stock in the freezer and so went with this. (Left over carcass from a roast chicken, halved and simmered with onion, star anise, thyme, peppercorns for 4 hours). As it happened, I think it was probably for the best, as the pulled pork and tiger prawns would have been over shadowed with a heavier base.

The depth of flavour, clarity of the broth and amazing roller coaster ride of hot, sweet, salty and sour that hits yours tastebuds made this an instant hit in the CookBakeSmile household.

Give it a go, and substitute the pulled pork with fish, more prawns, poached chicken / pork in the broth, if you do not have the time or inclination to spend so long in the kitchen. The Pho broth is very easy to make in its own right.

Vietnamese Pho : Close Up



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Lightly Pickled Mango Salad with Hot Nuts


I admit, this is really a Thai dish. However, as I was rambling on about in the Duck Rendang blog, a lot of Malaysian food that you eat out is a fusion of Indian, Vietnamese and Thai.

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Don’t take a photo of me! (Monkey in Langkawi)

Both times I ordered
Duck Rendang it was served with a spicy pickled papaya salad along with several chutneys. Alas, I could not get hold of a papaya, so I gave it a go with mango. I have to say it worked very well, although next time, I would look for a firmer, less ripe mango - mainly for ease - the sweeter mango was nice against the chilli and lime! I would definitely consider giving making a lime chutney a bash in the near future as an accompaniment.

The dressing is a pretty standard Thai salad dressing, incorporating tangy, sweet and sour. It works so well against the fresh herbs and mango - how can you go wrong???!!!

I had leftover, so I turned this into a delicious lunch with almost no effort. It went down very well.

Originally served with
Duck Rendang.

Mango Salad : Delicious”></a></span><span style=


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Malaysian Duck Rendang


My brother lives in Malaysia with his wife and 1 year old daughter. We were lucky enough to go and visit him in Kuala Lumpar for a couple of weeks last year - part of a longer tour from Dubai across to New Zealand, back through Australia, flutter on the Melbourne Cup and then off to Borneo, Cambodia and finally Malaysia. One hell of a trip, as you could imagine, and an immense and overwhelming culinary influence. I was lucky enough to attend a number of cooking schools whilst travelling. Alas, I was recovering from breaking my spine, and so I missed some of the world centres of skydiving *sob*
smiley_sad

Malaysian food is funny, in that it is not as hot nor as fragrant as Thai food and also significantly harder to come by in Malaysia. My culinary experience of Malaysia leans toward eating amazing Indian and Thai food more than notable Malay dishes. I embraced eating with my fingers and loved the banana leaves, acting as plates, and then served with a meat of your choice, several dahls, pickles and sauces. Simply delicious.

The other meal to note, is the Tom Yam Steamboat - a truly incredible way of sitting down with family and chowing over old times. You order an assortment of live and fresh seafood, and you proceed to eat fondue style! Fantastic! The meal culminates in the table poaching their own eggs in the left over broth. A really wonderful experience.

I have recreated Steamboat at home several times, and apart from the live shrimp, reckon I can produce a pretty authentic replica!

Anyways, the one authentic Malay dish that I do recall enjoying whilst in KL, and again in Langkawi was the Duck Rendang. Rendang is a form of storing meat, by using the coconut oil as a preserve. I got this recipe from my brother, and I have to say - it packs great flavour and keeps making you come back to the pan for a little more, well after you have finished!

I had duck breasts in the freezer, so I used these as opposed to duck legs which would be more suitable! However, with the way they rendered down, and only got warmed through in the sauce, the skin remained salty and crispy, and the meat very moist, - so a throughly adequate alternative
smiley_smile

You must serve this with the
salad, otherwise I think the meal loses the balance and feels too heavy for Asian food. We were served this dish with Papaya, but alas, I could not get hold of one in Chiswick. Nevertheless, the mango works very well.

Not a quick recipe - but certainly pretty easy - one worth pursuing on a wet weekend ;-p.

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Flowers of Malaysia

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Petronas Towers

Duck Rendag : Close Up ”></a></span><span style=


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Seared Scallop and Prawn Stir Fry


An incredibly quick and very tasty mid week dinner idea. I had just come in from the gym, and needed to rustle up a quick meal for the household.

As with any stir fry, preparation is the key to making this dish work. Make sure that you tackle the dish by cooking the noodles, chopping the vegetables, make the dressing and cleaning and preparing the shell fish. By the time the noodles are cooked, you should be ready to get cooking.

Cooking the dish is very simple, keep stirring, keep the heat high and follow the method listed.

I seared the scallops and prawns in a separate frying pan, so that I could control the heat and cook the shellfish with appropriate care!

A super delicious Asian inspired seafood treat!

You will love it!

Scallop and Prawn Stir Fry : Close Up


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Penang Curry Paste


I love Thai / Malaysian Penang Curry.

Penang curry is a milder, drier and more fragrant curry compared to a Red Thai Curry.

I learned how to make this dish whilst in Thailand. Apart from being unwilling to unearth my coriander plant for its roots, all the other ingredients are easy to get hold off locally.

Controversially, I added a tablespoon of Mae Pra Nom chilli paste. This is not authentic at all, but I prefer a little more heat in my curry, and also love the beautiful red hue that the paste injects.

Penang curry paste is traditionally cooked with beef, but works equally well with duck, chicken, seafood.

I originally served this as a
Pork Penang Curry.

If you wish to make the paste in bulk, and use at a later date - then store in a screw cap jar and cover with oil. Will happily sit in the fridge for a week or two.

If you love Thai food, then I strongly recommend you give this a go.

Penang Curry Paste : Finished Dish

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Thai Spicy Peanuts


Spicy, sweet and salty . Thai Spicy Peanuts are a perfect garnish and accompaniment to most Thai dishes and even more so, Thai salads.

The explosion of flavour and crunch of the peanuts provide a wonderful tastebud treat.

The topping works equally well as nibbles; and I can tell you - are incredibly addictive. At first you think they are too spicy, but you just cannot help yourself, coming back for a couple more and a couple more!

Originally served with
Pork Penang Curry.

Thai Spicy Peanuts : Leave to Cool


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