Category: Seafood

Adam’s Big Pot and Some Golden Rings of Aussie Deliciousness!

“I hope somewhere in this book there is a dish or two that you choose to serve to your family.  Something that gets asked for again and again, and each time you make it, it becomes a little more your own.  Then one day, years from now, when the people you cooked for have left and live their lives and come back to visit, you make that meal for them again.  And that’s what makes them feel like they’re home”

Adam Liaw, Adam’s Big Pot

Okay.  Now that there’s not a dry eye in the house we’ll talk Tasty Reads. 

 

Golden Rings - Salt & Pepper SquidOur latest theme has been Asian food and I kind of lucked out in that I already owned one of of the book choices, the absolute classic Charmaine Solomon’s Complete Asian Cookbook.  But ‘s that’s not what we’re going to talk about today.  Because, on high recommendation, I bought Adam’s Big Pot.

For those of you who have not heard of him, Adam Liaw was the winner or runner up or something in Master Chef a few years ago.  But you don’t need to know that.  What you do need to know is that apart from his annoying man-bun, Adam Liaw is immensely likeable. 

I on the other hand am not intensely likeable, in fact I am a contrarian at best and part of my reason for choosing this book was to take it down,  It was SO highly recommended I thought there was no way it could live up to the expectations that had been set. 

I stand corrected. 

This book is AWESOME.  

I have not been so excited about a Tasty Reads book since Persiana  – only 17 recipes to go after I totally botched the baklava on the weekend.  But we’re not here to talk about my cooking disasters.

OK, fine, seeing as you insist.  I overcooked the sugar syrup so when I poured it over the pastry it set like toffee so the top of the baklava is tooth breakingly hard and the bottom is, to use some Australian vernacular, as dry as a dead dingo’s donger.  My fault entirely, because after cooking the syrup for the requisite amount of time I thought it looked too watery.  And because having made Baklava precisely…let me see…never before, I considered myself a bit smarter than the recipe.  (Sigh, eyeroll, face palm).

But lets not focus on the bad, let’s talk about why I am excited by this book!

Adam’s Big Pot – Highlights

  • This is a very good primer in Asian food, lots of counties are represented – Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, India.  A great variety without being too daunting.
  • There are lots of super photos
  • Adam’s descriptions of each recipe are great
  • He’s not too prissy – he offers lots of alternatives – eg if you don’t have a master stock handy, use chicken.
  • His tips are great
  • The book is beautifully presented
  • The meals are quick, easy and approachable
  • Cooking from this book is like cooking with an old friend.  He’s just so damn likeable!
  • The food is super delicious.  I have only made one thing I didn’t like (see Dishes Made below).

Adam’s Big Pot – Weaknesses

I feel like I’m being super picky here but you know, just so you know this isn’t paid for by Adam or anything (ha!  I wish!). 

  • If you were utterly unfamiliar with Asian cooking and you wanted to try a lot of the recipes in here you may have to buy a lot of ingredients that you may not use again if you did not love the dish and / or they may make you break out into hives (see below).
  • I think the Bits and Pieces section which is the very first in the book and contains the recipes for the curry pastes, the stocks and all the other base ingredients would have been better placed at the end of the book. 
  • No bread!  No roti, chapati, naan or paratha! I would have LOVED at least one bread recipe in here!

Adam’s Big Pot – What I’ve Cooked

Carrot and Cumber Som Tam. 

So good.  This is Adam’s version of my favourite, green papaya salad.  Lovely, fragrant, spicy, fresh. 

Adam's Big Pot - Som Tam (2)Tuna Takaki Salad.

Just divine!

Adam's Big Pot - Tuna Tataki SaladTuna, Corn And Avocado Salad

This is on high lunch rotation!  I have made it pretty much every week since finding this recipe.  The recipe calls for raw corn, I have used tinned and leftover grilled corn.  All super.

Adam's Big Pot - Tuna SaladChicken and Cashew Nuts

Something in this recipe made me break out into a horrible rash and massive hives.  I suspect it was the dark soy sauce because it was the only thing I have not used before.  This probably says more about the excitability of my skin than a real flaw with the recipe because the fussiest eater in the world was perfectly fine.  He had seconds and took it to work the next day. 

Adam's Big Pot - Chicken & CashewsTandoori Chicken

Starting with homemade tandoori paste!  I was RIDICULOUSLY proud of myself for making this. Who makes their own tandoori paste?  Isn’t that  what supermarkets are for?  But it was so easy to do.  I will never buy it again!  And you know, seeing as I am Ms Allergic to the World, the more things I can control in my diet the better!

Adam's Big Pot - Tandoori PasteAnd then the chicken:

Adam's Big Pot - Tandoori ChickenSalt and Pepper Squid

I love squid.  The Fussiest Eater in the World will, however, not touch it with a ten foot barge pole. So, I quite often make it for one.  Adam’s recipe is so quick to cook, it is a great after work meal for one or many! It’s also why I bought rings instead of tubes – easier to control portions.  Although there do seem to be quite a lot of rings in the pictures…I really like it.

I also had absolutely no idea that Salt and Pepper Squid was not a thing everywhere. 

Adam says

“You could argue that salt and pepper squid is Australia’s national dish.  It’s universally loved and you can buy it in just about any pub, Vietnamese, Thai or Chinese restaurant or Italian café around the country.  On top of that, it’s not commonly found in any other country.  It’s a truly homegrown favourite”

So, here it is rest of the world.  What are you waiting for? Make this tonight.  And thank me later! 

Salt and Pepper Squid

Salt & Pepper Squid
A super quick, easy and delicious dish from Adam's Big Pot.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 litres peanut oil for deep frying
  2. 500g squid tubes, cleaned (or rings)
  3. 3 tbsp rice flour or cornflour (cornstarch)
  4. 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  5. 1 bird's eye chilli, thinly sliced
  6. 2 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
  7. 1 tsp salt flakes
  8. 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  9. Coriander leave, lemon wedges and aioli to serve
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil to 200C in a wok or large saucepan.
  2. Cut down one side of the squid tubes and open them flat. Lightly score the surface in a cross -hatch pattern, cut into bite sized triangles and toss in the flour.
  3. Shake off excess flour an deep fry the squid din batches ffpr about a minute per batch or until just cooked and lightly golden.
  4. Drain well.
  5. Remove the oil, leaving about a tbsp in the wok. Heat the wok over medium heat and add the garlic, chilli and spring onion.
  6. Toss in the wok for about a minute, or until the ingredients are lightly browned.
  7. Add the squid and toss constantly scattering with the salt and pepper.
  8. Remove the squid from the wok, scatter with coriander leaves and serve with lemon wedges and aioli.
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
Now that you have seen some of the contents with this book, maybe you can help me to make a decision on what to cook for our book club meeting next week. 

I have some of the tandoori paste left so it would be sensible to make the tandoori chicken again.  And the naan and the rojak I made from the Charmaine book when I made the tandoori chicken were super and the flavours went really well together.

However, with so many other delicious recipes still left to cook, including:

  • Prawn and Grapefruit Salad
  • Tom Yum Fried Rice
  • Kuku Paka which is an African chicken curry
  • Whiting With Nori Butter
  • Tiger Skinned Chicken
  • Baked Thai Fish Cakes
  • Canonigo which is a Filipino desert made from meringue, orange custard and caramel

It’s a pretty hard decision to make. So what do I do?  Go for the tried and tested or branch out with something new?

Oh and seeing as I’m asking questions, do you cook asian at home?  What is your Asian favourite cuisine?  What is your favourite Asian recipe?  You know I’m nosy and love to know your business so please leave comments!

Anyhoo, I’ve loved cooking from this book and I’m awarding it Five Golden Rings of Squiddy Delciousness!

Let’s see if the rest of the Tasty Reads  team agrees!

Have a great week!

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Book Club Update – Slow

It’s been a while so I thought I would give you a little update on how I am getting on with the Tasty Reads Books. 

Slow: Valli Little: August 2014 pick

Slow - Valli Little
Slow – Valli Little

Recipes in book: 60

Recipes marked to cook: 34 38

Cooked to date 12 22

Newly Cooked

p50 Fresh Piccalilli

I did not make the Ham Hock Terrine that this was supposed to accompany but this was one super pickle!!!  So fresh and tasty and zingy.  Piccalilli 2

 

p60 Roast Chicken With Pan Roasted Romesco

This was delicious!

Roast Chicken With Romesco

 p64 Oven Baked Thai Chicken Curry

Meh…take it or leave it…a solid chicken curry but nothing to write home about.

Oven Baked Chicken Curry
Oven Baked Chicken Curry

 p66 Moroccan Chicken with Olives

 Sorry, I took this photo on the fly during a dinner party.  Not the best quality but this dish was great.  Very tasty and you can pop it in the oven and pretty much forget about it until serving time! Oh,  and in the background you can see the fennel and apple salad from Persiana.

Slow - Moroccan Chicken With Olives
Slow – Moroccan Chicken With Olives

 p70 Massaman Roast Chicken

 I really wanted to cook this in style of the cover (above) but we had a heap of chicken breasts…this was delicious!

Slow - Massaman Curry Roast chicken
Slow – Massaman Curry Roast chicken

  p74 Fish Pie

 OMG.  So good. 

Slow - Fish Pie
Slow – Fish Pie

 

Slow - Fish Pie2
Slow – Fish Pie2

p76 Green Curry With Smoked Salmon

This was ok.  I  probably would not make it again.  It was a bit too salty with the smoked salmon and the soy and the fish sauce.

Slow - Hot Smoked Salmon Green Curry

 p84 Fish Tagine

Superb!

Slow - Fish Tagine
Slow – Fish Tagine

 p102 Baked Mushrooms with Pine Nuts & Feta

Absolutely delicous!!!

Slow - Baked Mushrooms with Pine Nuts & Feta

 p124 Deep Fried Brie with Sweet Chilli Sauce

 Slow - Deep Fried Brie

 Of this lot, my top three were the mushrooms, the fish pie and the tagine.  And you know…fried cheese is never  wrong!!! The piccalilli was really good too.

The worst was the smoked salmon curry.  Funny thing was, I don’t think I had it marked as something to cook, however we bought some hot smoked salmon which was on sale so I thought I would give it a go.  I should have stuck to my initial instincts.

 Still To Go

p6 Braised Beef Cheeks With Salsa Verde

p8 Braciola  (you’ll notice I’ve added a few in)

p10 Steak with Wild Mushroom Sauce

 p22 Lamb & Apricot Tagine

p24 Massaman Curry Lamb Shanks

p28 Lamb En Croute

p36 Macaroni Cheese with Truffle Oil

p44 Meatballs with Heavenly Mash

p62 Roast Quail with Split Pea Dhal

p88 Mushroom Soup with Garlic Bread

p92 Cauliflower Cheese Soup

p104 Pumpkin, Goat’s Cheese and Onion Marmalade Jalousie

p106 Twice Baked Souffles

p110 Mushroom & Potato Tarts

p116 Bagna Cauda with Baby Vegetables

p118 Instant Fondue with Roast Vegetables

Sixteen to go.

I’d like to cook them all before this August which will be the 12 month mark.  Technically, that should be easy.  Then again, I also have retro books, Persiana, Healthy Every Day and two Tasty Reads selections I have not even told you about yet!!!  Plus at least one other bloggy project I am keen to get off the ground.  We’ll see…

 Have a great week!

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RFFMT – Running Amok in Siem Reap

Amok is the national dish of Cambodia – it is a yellow curry and can be made with chicken, fish or seafood.  I ate ’em all.  And they were all delicious! It is also served a variety of ways – often it comes wrapped in a banana leaf:

Amok  - Lotus Blanc
Amok – Lotus Blanc

 Or a coconut: 

Chicken Amok Siem Reap
Chicken Amok Siem Reap

Or sometimes, rather boringly on a plate!  Boo…

Chicken Amok 3
Chicken Amok 3

When we were in Siem Reap, I did a cooking class and learned to cook it! Here’s what I made in the class:

My PhotoFy_09_14_21_07

And Here’s one I made when I got home:

Home Made  Seafood Amok
Home Made Seafood Amok

 

But first…Siem Reap is a pretty town with sights ranging from the traditional:

Monks  - Siem Reap
Monks – Siem Reap

 

Market - Siem Reap
Market – Siem Reap

To the distinctly more modern:

Pub Street  - Siem Reap
Pub Street – Siem Reap

I couldn’t resist putting in this photo, it looks like Mark’s been photobombed by a pineapple! 

Siem Reap - Cocktails
Siem Reap – Cocktails

 There is also a bustling market for souvenirs and some lovely gift shops.  But dominating tourism in Siem Reap is it’s proximity to Angkor Wat, which is Unesco Heritage listed and the largest temple complex in the world.  The tourism system is very well organised, you can buy a one, three or seven day temple pass so can spend as  much time as you want exploring the area.

Cambodia Souvenirs
Cambodia Souvenirs

 We did a one day pass which was possibly a mistake.  By the end of the day, we were utterly exhausted!  I felt a bit sorry for our guide actually, he kept valiantly trying to explain the history to us but, by late afternoon, most of our group were beyond listening. And there were monkeys…

Monkeys - Angkor Wat

 And not just any monkeys…baby monkeys!!!!  Otherwise known as the cutest things in the world!

Monkeys - Angkor Wat2
Monkeys – Angkor Wat2

  I am a five year old.

Seriously though, the temples were pretty amazing…

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom was stunning and probably my favourite out of all of them. 

Angkor Thom

Angkor Thom2
Angkor Thom2

 And you could rub noses with Buddha…

Rubbing Noses
Rubbing Noses

 Told you I was a 5 year old!

Ta Prohm

Then on to Ta Prohm which is the tree temple.  And pretty spectacular in itself:

Ta Prohm1
Ta Prohm1
Ta Prohm2
Ta Prohm2

  And then there was the big one, the one they all come to see.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat

  You can get pretty high here..in a completely natural way:

Angkor Wat2
Angkor Wat2

 But whoo…those stairs are steep!  I’m really, really scared of heights..the going up was fine.  The coming down on these very steep, but also very narrow steps, when it had just started to rain so everything was a little bit more slippery than it should have been?  Completely terrifying.  One of the most nerve wracking things I have ever done….

Steps Angkor Wat
Steps Angkor Wat

 What was not terrifying but totally amazing was the cooking school at The Temple I attended the next day.  And just whilst we’re on this.  The cooking school at the Temple?  $US10.  Best bang for buck cooking school EVER.  Did I mention before that the default currency in Cambodia is the US dollar?  You only ever get proper Cambodian money as small change. It’s really weird….

Anyway, for your $10 you get to make three things.  You have seen my Amok.  I also chose to make a Green Mango Salad which was super delicious:

Green Mango Salad
Green Mango Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The third thing was a dessert but it wasn’t very nice.  Hence no photos. 

Making Amok

There was a funny moment though.  When they laid out the ingredients for the amok, I looked at them and thought.  “Wow, carrots must be expensive here.  But what’s the point of that one teeny, tiny piece.  What the hell good is that going to do?”

Ingredients - Amok
Ingredients – Amok

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That my friends, is not carrot.  It is turmeric.  Which I had only ever seen as a bright yellow powder before, hence my confusion. IT is also what gives the Amok it’s traditional yellow colour.  If you can’t find fresh turmeric, you can use the powdered version.  However I managed to find some in my local asian market so it is available.  It looks a bit like ginger but is bright orange! It is also super good for you!

My PhotoFy_09_14_21_47

 One thing to be aware of with either the powdered or the fresh version…book a manicure for the day after you make your amok.  Otherwise your fingers will look like you smoke a pack a day for the foreseeable future! 

2014-09-14_09-40-19I”m off to have mine now!

Have a fabulous week everyone!

 

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PS.  They didn’t really give us a recipe for the Amok in the class.  My version below is heavily adapted from the one at taste.com.au.

RFFMT – Seafood Amok

RFFMT – Seafood Amok

Ingredients

  • 2 dried red chillies soaked in boiling water, drained, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh turmeric (can use powdered if not available)
  • 2 tablespoons grated galangal (can use ginger if not available)
  • 2 lemongrass stems (inner core only), grated
  • 2 eschalots, chopped
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon shrimp paste
  • 1/4 cup (65g) grated palm sugar
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 400g skinless blue-eye or other firm fleshed white fish, cut into 3-4cm pieces
  • 12 green prawns
  • 2 banana leaves
  • 1 long red chilli, thinly sliced
  • Rice or Naan Bread to serve

Instructions

  • Combine the chilli, garlic, turmeric, galangal, lemongrass, eschalot, lime zest, shrimp paste, palm sugar, half the kaffir lime leaves and 2 teaspoons salt in a mortar and pestle or small food processor and pound or whiz until a fine paste.
  • Transfer paste to a frypan over medium heat and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes, until fragrant. Add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool slightly. Add the seafood and toss to combine.
  • Cut each banana leaf into two 25cm x 15cm rectangles. Carefully wave both sides of each leaf over a medium-high flame, then set aside (the heat from the flame will soften the leaves, making them more pliable). Lay each banana leaf out, divide the seafood among the leaves and fold in the ends, securing with toothpicks to form 4 small trays. Top with remaining marinade and sprinkle with remaining kaffir lime leaves and half the sliced chilli. Place in a steamer over medium-high heat and cook for 15 minutes or until the fish is tender and cooked through.
  • Place the seafood parcels on serving plates. Remove toothpicks and scatter with remaining sliced chilli. Serve with rice (traditional) or naan bread (because it's my favourite).
http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/2014/09/15/rffmt-running-amok-siem-reap/

 

 

 

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