Sunday, September 12, 2010

Life and Times of Moi in Thailand

Just meaning to post something hasn't helped me to actually post anything since my last post..... so here we are again, with another promise to myself to keep blogging on my most favourite subject - food. Some photos of all my creations ....that I had meant to post about at the time of their creation are here are there in this post.

So after a hectic final year of university, I have now graduated with a degree in International Spa Management Bsc (Hons) - my second passion (reserved for work as I know that I would never turn food into work for myself)so work wise its spa spa spa spa spa (maybe I'll do a post on the world of Spa...and to all the people in the world,spa is not just a pampering treatment or something found in a bottle!!!). Anyhow, I am eternally grateful for having the joy of food and cooking to keep me company during those long days of research, essay and dissertation writing.

So what have I managed to cook up whilst I've been busy at Uni and everything inbetween?? Much too much I can tell you that. I've been through so many recipes and concocted many dishes of my own creation, had foodie parties and cooked and baked for my house and flat mates as well as my family (parents), family friends and many many birthdays.

So 3 years of uni are over and done with, now it's the world of work. And guess where I'm working? Back in my home city of London? nope. Far Far Far away in Thailand is where I have moved to. In one of the world's best wellness spa resorts. No naming any names though!

Food and accommodation are included in my position which is great as there are no bills to pay! The location of the company ...and our spa is a little remote so our staff accommodation is quite nice to compensate for lack of....anything nearby. Fairly large room with large TV, sofa, coffee table, huge huge bed, desk and quite a large en-suite. so all happy there ...the glitch.... NO KITCHEN!!!!!!! How does a foodie live without a kitchen!!!! At first it seemed okay. The staff canteen is pretty good most of the time, serving traditional Thai fare with the odd pasta here and there. But after a two weeks, the craving for cooking became too much. I went out and bought a fridge with a co-worker. And there it is, resting proudly on our landing, guarding all our chocolates, dairy products and anything else that requires refrigeration from the southern Thai heat..... and ants. The following week I proceeded to buy mini oven with hot plates on top. It now sits all sparkly on my coffee table against the wall in my room. Have cooked up a few things in the oven which I'm still getting used to as it's not like our normal home oven (I soooo miss my Neff oven!!!) ..cheese on toast, chocolate brownies and a almond & honey loaf cake. Things I've learnt so far? only use the bottom rack to bake ...and possibly roast on, as anything placed on the top two shelves starts to brown and burn in the first 10 minutes.

So now I'm cooking around once a week as my week is pretty long and ingredients are quite expensive here (all the European things at least). Will slowly amass my new culinary collection over the next few months!!! Asides from eating at the staff canteen and the odd bit of baking, there are two local family run restaurants....well roadside food stop where each table is situated in a little wooden hut of its own. According to my Thai co-workers, they're not the best, but since we're pretty much in the jungle and the only town is 45minutes away by car; they're the best for me. Have already eaten at them 3-4 times and am impressed. Not as good as what I had in Chiang Mai when I was there 3 years ago, but still deliciously spicy and tangy and....Thai.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Pastry School!!!!!!



It's been a while since i posted anything (the fruit tart one should have been posted about a month or more ago but silly me drafted it instead of publishing it)

I'm on a Gap year this year, mostly because I couldn't make up my mind on what to study at university so I had a look at some colleges near my house and found one that offered a part-time Pastry and Patisserie course. Its only once a week so for the rest of the week, I'm doing part time work and giving massage treatments to clients who need to de stress (did I mention that I'm a qualified masseuse??). Then every Monday I'm off to college for the day to make lots of funky things.

So far I've made Scones, Milk Rolls, Buns, Bakewell Cake and Florence Cakes. Sounds a bit basic but we need to start somewhere plus there are a few people in the class who have never baked in their lives so for them its really important basic things taht they need to know and for me its just pure fun ^-^

Making the bread rolls was really fun though. We used fresh yeast which I've never had the chance to see before so it was really interesting.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Fruit Tarts - meant to have posted this about a month ago



On Friday, I decided to make some fruit tarts not really for any particular reason, maybe because i hadnt made any plans to go out or anything, plus I wanted to try a new recipe for shorcrust pastry because all my other attempts have failed miserably.

The recipe that I used came from The Cooks Book which I bought quite a while back and I think its one of the best books that I have now! ^-^

The recipe I think was a bit too salty even though I had reduced the amount suggested and added more sugar than was required, but I am happy to say that the recipe worked really well for me and i actually successfully made a good shortcrust pastry. The resting time for the dough however was 2 hours so that made me slightly impatient but I kept to that time and at the end of the day, ended up with some gorgeous tarts!!! The dough didnt crack or tear so I think this is definately one that I'm going to use over and over again!!! (after I've used the huge ball that was left over which i placed in the freezer)

The Foolproof Pastry!!!!! - makes about 1Kg!!!!

375g Unsalted Butter (softenend and cubed)
2Tsp Salt (This was waaay too much so i would halve this amount to 1Tsp)
1 Egg Yolk
2Tsp Caster Sugar (I have a sweet tooth so I added quite a lot more)
100ml Full Fat Milk (warmed to room temperature)
500g Plain White Flour (sifted) (plus extra for dusting)

Method

1) Beat the butter in a large mixing bowl until soft, then stir in the salt and egg yolk. Mix the sugar into the milk then pour into the butter mixture and stir constantly until well mixed in.

2)Gradually add the sifter flour to the butter and stir together with a large wooden spoon.

3)Once the mixture begins to come together, turn out onto a clean worksurface and lightly knead until it just forms a soft, moist dough. Try not to over-work the dough or you will end up with a very elastic bready textured shortcrust pastry.

4)Shape the dough into a ball and wrap in clingfilm then refridgerate for 2 hours. ....yes it says 2 hours!!! this will stop the dough from shrinking once it goes into the oven.

When I took it out of the fridge it was solid like a rock and I got a bit impatient with it and bashed it a few times with my rolling pin...parents thought there was an earthquake. but this didnt seem to effect the finished pastry.

I rolled it out and lined a few tart cases with the pastry and then froze the rest that was left.

Using a fork, I pricked the bottom of the tart shells a few times, then lined them with greaseproof paper and filled them with baking beans.

I think I baked them for 15 minutes at 180°C. might have been a bit less longed but I can't remember.

To finish, I filled the tarts with a layer of Patisserie cream and a layer of whipped cream as my relatives love whipped cream...I'm not a huge fan. And of course I decorated them with lots of fresh fruit then glazed with a mixture of sugar, water and apple jam.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Vanilla Chiffon Cake Recipe


As promised, here is the recipe that i used to make my Vanilla Chiffon Cake...the most moist and light and airy cake ever!!!!!!! ^-^

You will need a chiffon pan or an angel food cake pan, small to medium size.

Ingredients

130g Flour
2/3Tsp Baking Powder
80g Sugar
80ml Oil
130ml Water
1Tsp Vanilla Essence
4 Egg Yolks
6 Egg Whites

Method

Preheat the oven to 170°C

Sift the flour 3 times with the baking Powder

whisk half the sugar with the egg yolks until thick trippled in volume and has reached the Ribbon Stage (you can draw a ribbon with the mixture when you lift the whisk up and the ribbon stays for about 30 seconds or more)

Add the Oil, Water and vanilla essence and whisk until the mixture is well combined.

Add the flour and baking powder and mix until well combined (dont worry about folding it in)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites (gradually adding the rest of the sugar) until stiff peaks have been formed and you can hold the bowl of egg whites over your head without any of the whites moving or falling on you.

fold the egg whites in thirds into the yolk mixture using a spatula and then pour into the cake tin. (do not grease the tin or line it with anything)

Bake for 50 minutes and as soon as it's done, take it out of the oven and flip it upside down to cool completely!!!

and voila the ultimate chifon cake recipe (its worked everytime for me!!!!!) Hope it works for you too!!!! ^-^

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Caramel Cream Profiterols!!!!!!!!



kwaaaa, on Friday, i had some of my friends come over to my house for a little get together and obviously, being the crazy baking and cooking obsessive that i am, i made stacks and stacks of food, not to mention some really really funky desserts!!! ^-^

even though im meant to be resting especially straight after my operation which was on Wednesday, i couldnt sit still. i needed to keep myself busy. so i trawled through all the recipes that ive copied down from the internet on random pieces of paper and finally found one that i have for sooo long wanted to try out. I cant remember where i found it but most undoubtably its source is probably Japanese!!! (one of the disadvantages of copying things on bits of paper, i tend to only copy the recipes!!...really should copy down the source too)

Having chosen my recipe, i was up for a task!!! My chosen recipe? Caramel Cream Profiterols. well thats the name ive given it because i couldnt come up with anything that made sense.

The dessert as a whole was comprised of 3 things.
Choux pastry buns
Pattiserie Cream (caramel Flavour)
and Creme Chantilly (whipped Cream also Caramel Flavour)

and as for the caramel flavouring in both the creams, i also had to make that.

I'm actually quite amazed that i was able to make them because i had never ever attempted to make any of these scrummy things before.

I made the buns and the caramel and the creams on Thursday and put the whole thing together on Friday and wow were they a crowed pleaser!!!! ^-^

I had also baked a Cinnamon Chiffon on Thursday too....dont know how i managed to make sooo much all on my own!!!! and seeing as i had never made a cinnamon flavoured cake before i was worried that i may have made it slightly too strong (that which i had done)
so on Friday morning (very very early) i baked a nice simple tasting Vanilla Chiffon which is always a definate crowd pleaser!!!! ^-^

Will type up the recipe when i have some time! ^-^

For the main course (had to type up about desserts first because they were just soooo yummy!!!!!) i made two kinds of roast!
a roasted rack/rib of Beef
and a roasted leg of lamb

with roast potatoes (how can you have a roast and not have the spuds???)
tonnes and tonnes of Gravy (a roast is not a roast unless there's Gravy)
carrots and parsnips

and a baked stuffed butternut squash!!! ^-^

just writing about it is making me hungry again!!! ^-^

well everyone enjoyed it (i think and hope) ^-^ and i will definately post some more as well as the recipes!! ^-^

meanwhile hope whoever is reading this likes the photo!! ^-^

Monday, July 17, 2006

Food Update!!!!!

Kwaaa Yuzu has been sooo bad!!! bad bad bad bad bad

so much has been happening lately!! A-levels have finished! exams are over so have been doing a lot socialising .....and eating and getting fat!

well also have been doing lots of cooking and baking!!!!! mwahahahaha some worked some havent!!! most of my culinary experiments were really cool though!!! ^-^

i think the most successful experiment so far has been a plain Chiffon cake which cam out sooo perfect even i myself was shocked!!!! ^-^ It was the most lightest and airiest cake that i have ever made in my entired life!!!!! ^-^ sooo pleased with the result!!! I found the recipe a while back from a Japanese website (I think all the Japanese food websites outdo all the english ones!!!) and il have a rummage around for it! As usual, i wrote it on some scrap piece of paper so I'll have to have a big long search for it (plus i hope mum hasnt mistaken it for some junk and thrown it away..noooo) ^-^

I think the next step i take is gonna be flavouring it with different things. Pandan is quite a popular flavour with my family (must be an asain/chinese thing) I luve green tea so im gonna have to try that one out, strawberry cos pink is a yummy yummy colour!, vanila because who doesnt like a hint of vanilla? blueberries ....they rock!!! hmmmm and coffee, chocolate, cinnamon, maybe banana......any other ideas? anyone? ^-^

will post some more about everything else i have made!!!! wanna make them again and take some gorgeous photos to show!!! ^-^

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

white/yellow cream

kyaaaa exams are soooo annoying!!!!!! sometimes the questions that you get. yuzuki is kinda swamped with exams so havent had much time to cook, bake or post >.<

i was however wondering, whenever i look at american and japanese recipe photos, the cream that they use to decorate their cakes is soooooo white but here in london all the cream that i have come across and tried is a creamy yellow colour

do they do something to the cream or is it just the light? and is it possible to get really white coloured cream? or is yuzu just being stupid?

can anyone shed any light?

yuzu.