I may not became the next Julie Powell, but hey, I'm going to have some fun cooking food, writing about food, and most importantly eating food.
I would like to add a disclaimer to the overall production value of The Self-Raising Kitchen blog from the outset; and hope those of you who decide to follow me - and I hope a few of you will - can excuse an element of my un-exceptional talent. That is, I take shocking photos. So, if anyone has any tips out there, I'm open to suggestions.
As we are well and truly in the crazy festive season, I thought it would be appropriate to begin this little project of mine with an entry on my gift ideas for friends and family. You may be surprised to find out it is based on food.
Yes, I decided the Australian economy was not going to be boosted by my minimum wage from tutoring university students, so I'm putting my pennies and my cooking skills to work and making curry pastes, powders and biscuits for my loved ones this year.
Now the only thing to be aware of when choosing this gift-giving avenue is to give yourself time the day before you meet your friends or family members to actually MAKE the gift. An important element, I'm sure you would agree!
Rick Stein's Thai Green Curry Paste
|Christmas gifts for friends|
Rick Stein's tasty Thai green curry paste
5 fat lemongrass stalks, core chopped
15g peeled galangal or ginger, chopped (unfortunately I did have to use ginger for mine as I couldn't find galangal at the time. But it is certainly worth using galangal if you can find it)
2 medium-hot green chillies, chopped (shhhh, I forgot it was a green curry and bought red chillies instead)
2 kaffir lime eaves, roughly chopped
10 black peppercorns, crushed (just use a mortar and pestle)
50g garlic, roughly chopped
100g shallots, roughly chopped
1 tsp shrimp paste
Put all your ingredients into a food processor with about 3 tablespoons of water and a bit of salt and grind into a delicious and fragrant paste. This will keep well in the fridge for a week - hence way making it the day before or day of meeting up with friends or family will help - but can be frozen to last longer.
Thai Green Curry
(This may be blindingly obvious, but this part needs to be given with the paste)
Now with this part I changed the recipe slightly. Rick has a recipe for a stir-fried green chicken curry, which is a dryer dish. As my beloved absolutely loves the traditional Thai green curry, I thought I better adapt the recipe to his liking (i.e. I added a tin of coconut milk instead of the suggested 100ml).
1 quantity of the curry paste (as above)
1 tin (400ml) coconut milk
350g chicken (I've generally increased this to about 500g and used either thigh or breast cut into strips)
1 tbsb fish sauce
2 tsp palm sugar (can substitute with brown sugar, but the palm sugar offers a far richer flavour)
2 kaffir lime leaves (if can't find use thick slices of lime rind as a substitute)
1 medium-hot red chilli thinly sliced (if you don't like hot food, leave it out. The dish still tastes great)
Include any two or three vegetables like aubergine (eggplant), baby corn, beans, bamboo shoots or carrot.
2 tsp lime juice
Large handful of Thai holy basil leaves (if you can't find I have just left this ingredient out, unfortunately).
Heat oil in a wok over a medium heat. Add the curry past and fry gently for two minutes until it starts to smell fragrant. Add three tablespoons of the coconut milk and the chicken pieces and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the rest of the coconut milk, the fish sauce and sugar and bring to a simmer.
Add your chosen vegetables, kaffir lime leaves, sliced red chillies (if including) and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Stir in the lime juice and basil before serving.