Our wonderful HelpXers, Vicki and Marc, enjoyed spending time in the kitchen. They cooked and cooked and made memorable meals: here are just three.
Vicki was keen to introduce us to this Chinese dish. It’s fun to eat: use lettuce ‘wrapping’ to make your own pork parcels up, then garnish them with what you fancy from the bits and bobs on the side.
Sang choy bow
1 tbsp sunflower oil
Large piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 red chillies , deseeded and finely sliced
500g minced pork
85 g light brown sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce
Juice from 1 lime
2 finely shredded lime leaves
Mix of lettuce leaves
Large handful mint and coriander leaves, very roughly chopped
handful toasted peanuts , roughly chopped
2 shallots finely sliced into rings shallots
1 lime, cut into wedges
Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Fry the ginger, garlic and chillies for 1 min. Add the mince, then cook on a high heat until golden brown, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as you go. Sprinkle over the brown sugar, fish sauce, lime juice and shredded lime leaves, then cook everything down until sticky.
Tip the mince into a serving bowl, then serve with a bowl of lettuce leaves for wrapping the mince in; the herbs, shallots and peanuts for scattering over; and the lime wedges for squeezing.
On their last evening, the night of the ‘Asian tapas-Smörgåsbord’ , Marc introduced us to the Vietnamese answer to crudités, Gado gado. I wasn’t watching while he was cooking, and I forgot to get his recipe from him, so … Marc, if you’re reading … is this version OK?
Gado gado consists of a plate of various raw or lightly cooked vegetables to dunk into a peanut sauce. Marc served raw cabbage and cucumber, lightly steamed potato slices and french beans, and quartered hard-boiled eggs.
Peanut Dipping Sauce (Sambal Kacang)
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 fresh green chili chopped, (use 1/2 for milder sauce, or leave it out)
200 g roughly crushed peanuts
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 tablespoon lime juice
450ml hot water
Place the garlic cloves, green chili and salt in a mortar and pestle and pound into a paste.
In a small bowl, add the garlic paste, crushed peanuts, sugar and lime juice. Pour in hot water a little at a time, while whisking the peanut butter. Stop pouring the hot water when the peanut butter forms a smooth, dippable sauce. You may not need to use all of the hot water.
Taste the peanut sauce and adjust salt, sugar and lime juice if needed. Serve with your selection of vegetable crudités
Vicki found this recipe in my copy of Dennis Cotter’ s ‘Paradiso Seasons’, a wonderful vegetarian cookbook. If you explore the web, you’ll find he’s tweaked this recipe several times. The original is pretty damn’ good.
Chocolate-olive oil mousse
150g. good dark chocolate
140 ml. olive oil
4 eggs separated
125 g. golden caster sugar
(1 tbspn. Cointreau or other orange liqueur)
In a bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and slowly stir in the olive oil. Beat the egg yolks with half the sugar until pale and fluffy. Stir in the chocolate oil mix (and Cointreau if used). Whisk the eggs with a pinch of salt until stiff, then continue whisking while adding the remaining sugar gradually in small batches. Fold the egg white mixture and put the mousse into the fridge to chill for at least four hours. It has a strong structure, and will easily keep overnight (but not if you taste it first…….)