Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Seafood and Kimchi Noodles (RECIPE)

Seafood and Kimchi Noodles 1

It's supposed to be Summer, so why are the gutters along my rooftop overflowing with rain?

I'm cold, I'm miserable, and I want something to cheer me up. 

I wander into the kitchen, and I get a pack of mixed seafood from the freezer, some kimchi from the fridge, a lime, some chives, a chilli, and a packet of udon. 

I combine the lot with some vegetable broth and, in minutes, a magical broth is formed.

Suddenly it doesn't seem so bad that the sun won't come out to play.

Seafood and Kimchi Noodles
Serves 2
  • 500ml vegetable stock (I like Marigold bouillon)
  • 400g fresh udon noodles (~ 2 packets)
  • 300g mixed seafood (frozen or fresh, cooked or raw - you can just use prawns if you prefer)
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp good fish sauce (Three Crabs or Hung Thanh Phu Quoc)
  • 4 tbsp kimchi, chopped (easy recipe here or buy ready-made)
  • Handful of chives, chopped
  • One lime, halved
  • 1 red finger chilli, chopped (optional)
Combine the stock with the sugar in a large saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Add the udon and bring back to the boil. Add the seafood and bring back to the boil.

Turn the heat down to medium and allow to simmer briskly for 2 minutes if using frozen seafood and 1 minute if using fresh (add a minute to each time if the seafood is raw). 

Add the fish sauce and half the kimchi to the saucepan and stir gently.

Divide everything from the saucepan into two bowls and top with the rest of the kimchi and chives (and chopped chilli if you like). 

Squeeze half a lime over each bowl of noodles and serve immediately.

My book NOODLE! (100 Great Recipes) is out now, though you can win a signed copy on my Facebook page right now.

Seafood and Kimchi Noodles 2
Dive in and warm up

Thursday, 22 May 2014

My first book Noodle! (100 Great Recipes) is out today

Noodle Cover - Full Wrap
NOODLE! by MiMi Aye

A while ago, I was asked to write a book about noodles as part of a wonderful series called 100 Great Recipes published by Absolute Press

I'm a bit of a noodle geek (though by no means an expert), and there's nothing I like more than sticking my face into a big bowl of the stuff, so my first thought was, "Amazing! I'd love to do this".

However, I have a full-time job, so I ummed and ahhed for a while, thinking I wouldn't have the chance to work on it. 

Then I decided that, as I was pregnant, I could just write the thing whilst I was on maternity leave. 

This was a mistake.

MiMi_Aye_Noodle (1)
She tried to stop me writing this book, but failed.

Roll forward a year, and after blood, sweat, tears and many, many sleepless nights, here we are - Noodle!* by me is out today.

The dishes were styled by the wonderful Genevieve Taylor and stunning photos taken by Mike Cooper.

Forgive me for quoting the official press release, but:
Popular food blogger and veteran noodle eater MiMi Aye celebrates 100 wonderful noodle recipes for every occasion in this practical book. 
All types of the slender staple are explored, from wheat, rice and egg noodles to buckwheat noodles and beyond. 
In this essential guide, discover different noodle stir-fries, soups, sauces, salads and snacks with flavours from across the world. 
Here are 100 recipes in a fantastic collection that you'll return to all year round. 
Noodle! is the fifth book in a series that began with the bestselling Mince! (World Gourmand Award for 'Best UK Single Subject Cookbook') and continued with the brilliant titles Stew!, Soup! and Pie!. 

Tonkotsu Ramen (Japan) p 48

What I'd also like you to know is this -  
  • Noodle! is in no way intended to be authoritative, but it's an easy-to-use primer for those that want to know more and understand where these dishes came from as well as for those who love to eat;
  • Recipes range from hand-made noodles for those that want to make a dish from scratch to quick fixes for pimping instant noodles;
  • Apart from the fusion dishes, all the dishes are relatively faithful ie they would be recognised by someone who was already familiar with the dish;

Saucy Chicken and Peanut Noodles (Burma) - p 116

  • Recipes are categorised by type of dish (snack, salad, stir-fry etc) so you can pick what you want to cook according to what mood you're in;
  • There's a whole section devoted to Secret Weapons which can turn any meal into a masterpiece – eg pickled chillies, fried shallots, garlic oil;
  • If you want a theme to your dinner ("I fancy Korean food tonight"), the recipes are labelled by country origin; 

Cha Gio - Vermicelli-stuffed Spring Rolls (Vietnam) - p 142

  • For those interested in learning more about the countries, I've used the native names for each dish, as well as English translations. This means people can order the dishes in restaurants or when they're visiting those countries as well; 
  • For those interested in authenticity, I've used the original ingredients and techniques as much as possible or explained what these would be where I've suggested alternatives instead;
  • For those interested in culture, I've also explained how each dish should traditionally be eaten – what type of cutlery and crockery, so people can do the same if they like; 
  • I managed to get the word "test*cles" into the book - see if you can spot it; and
  • For me, the most important thing is I've been able to include a fair few Burmese recipes. These were taught to me by my mother and the fact that I have this opportunity to share my heritage and spread the Burmese food love has been amazing.

Liang Fen - Spiced Jelly Noodles (China) - p 128

Noodle! is available right now in all good bookshops eg WH Smith, Waterstones, Foyles and also online at all those stores, as well as on Amazon, and the Guardian Bookshop. Randomly, it's even available on eBay.

Wherever you like to purchase your cookbooks from, please do buy it :)

Here endeth the plug.

MiMi_Aye_Noodle (2)
"Please buy my mother's book so she can buy me a new jumper."

And keep your eyes right here on the blog as I'll be adding companion pieces to the book - eg guides on how to cook dried soba and udon, how to stop your rice noodles clumping together, as well as recipes that I couldn't quite fit in. 

Plus a giveaway - and who doesn't love those, right?

*Part of me is slightly rueful that my first book contains an exclamation mark in the title.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Tarragon Sugared Doughnuts with Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream - A Recipe and a Lurpak Adventure

Lurpak Adventures
Tarragon Sugared Doughnuts and Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream

I am contrary. If someone tells me to go left, I feel myself veering to the right (this is possibly why I don't drive, and you should all be grateful)*.

So when Lurpak sent me a product from their new Cooks' Range - Lurpak Clarified Butter (or ghee as it's often known) with some tarragon and some pink peppercorns and then suggested I might use them to make a nice steak, my first thought was, "I don't think so".

Lurpak Adventures

In fact, I'm contrary enough that I thought I'd make a dessert instead, and as any fule kno, I don't do puds (unless they're as ridiculously easy as the Burmese New Year snack known as mont lone yay paw).

Lurpak Adventures

So anyway, I sat staring at the wee tub of ghee and the little baggies of herbs, and I racked my brain and I came up with the following - Tarragon Sugared Doughnuts with Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream.

It occurred to me that tarragon is sweet and fragrant with enough of a bitter aniseed kick that it bears more than a passing resemblance to matcha ie Japanese green tea, which works wonderfully in desserts.

And the pink peppercorns would also provide spice and heat to cut through the richness of the ice cream.

I also decided to bake the doughnuts and then dip them in the melted clarified butter to get that glorious deep-fried sheen and flavour without actually having to deep-fry (thus saving a few calories, I hope).

Lurpak Adventures

Lurpak Adventures

Tarragon Sugared Doughnuts with Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream (Recipe)

For the ice cream:
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 300g cream cheese (I used Philadelphia)
  • 2 tbsp condensed milk
  • 200ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tbsp pink peppercorns, crushed

For the doughnuts (makes 20-24 small doughnuts)
  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 125g clarified butter
  • 1 egg
  • 175ml whole milk

For the doughnut coating
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp dried tarragon
  • 100g clarified butter

The day before you want to serve this dish, beat all the ingredients for the ice cream together except for the peppercorns in a large bowl. When it's thick and fluffy, stir in the peppercorns.

Pour into a tub with a lid and freeze for at least six hours, preferably overnight (there's no need to whisk or beat this ice cream - you can just leave it in the freezer).

Lurpak Adventures

Lurpak Adventures

When you're ready to make the doughnuts, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon to combine.

Add the melted clarified butter, egg, and milk, and beat with a whisk or electric mixture until thick, smooth and creamy. 

Lurpak Adventures

If using a doughnut maker, preheat for 5 minutes. Spoon a tablespoon of the doughnut batter evenly into each hole of the doughnut maker and close the lid. Leave the doughnuts to cook for 5 minutes or until they're firm but springy and golden brown.

If using an oven, preheat to 160C. Grease the holes of a mini cupcake tray or doughnut hole tray with a little of the clarified butter and then spoon a tablespoon of the doughnut batter evenly into each hole of the tray. Bake the doughnuts for 8 minutes or until they're firm but springy and golden brown.

Lurpak Adventures

Lurpak Adventures

Meanwhile, melt the butter for the doughnut coating and set to one side in a bowl.

Now grind the tarragon and caster sugar for the coating in a pestle and mortar until it's as fine as you can manage and set to one side.

Lurpak Adventures

Lurpak Adventures

Carefully remove one of the hot doughnuts from the doughnut maker/tray and dip first in the melted butter so it's completely coated and then roll in the tarragon sugar.

Place on a baking tray and then repeat for the rest of the doughnuts.

Lurpak Adventures

When you've made all your tarragon sugar doughnuts, serve immediately whilst they're still warm with scoops of your pink peppercorn ice cream.

Et voilĂ ! I made a pretty pud!

Lurpak Adventures

*You'll be pleased to hear that I've been blessed with a child that is just as contrary as I am.

This is a sponsored post.