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Fried Rice (Indonesian)

14 Aug

In Indonesia this dish would be called Nasi Goreng. It is one of the most popular family or street foods, almost a national dish, often eaten for breakfast, made from left-overs from the night before and found on most Indonesian or malay restaurant menues in the west. The Chinese brought their fried rice dishes to Indonesia, where they adapted to local tastes; the Indonesians cook this dish in woks but it tends to be spicier and flavoured by their sweet sticky Kecap Manis. This is a great dish, adaptable to whatever you have available, and can be made with meat, shellfish, poultry, offal or kept clean and simple with no animal products at all. The only essential ingredient is cold cooked rice making it a useful way to use left-overs and an easy to prepare breakfast or delicious packed lunch.

  • Cold cooked long grain rice
  • green or spring onions
  • garlic
  • Seasoning Ketjap Manis (a sweet soy sauce and speciality of Indonesia)
  • vegetable use whatever is in season, green beans, long beans, runner beans, asparagus, chinese greens, peppers, carrots, fennel, corn, peas, mushrooms
  • protein you can use fried tofu, peanuts, chicken, prawn, pork or sausage.
  • Additional flavouring use dried prawns whole or powdered or prawn paste.

Toppings Serve with fresh vegetables such as; cucumber, cherry tomatoes, peppers or green onions and comdiments such as crispy fried onions and sambal olek (chilli paste), you can also serve topped with shredded egg omelet or hard boiled eggs.


Cooks Note If you don’t have Katjap Mannis you can make a similar product by mixing soy sauce with sugar, and a little miso paste, garlic and chinese 5 spice) or just use soy sauce and a little sugar.


Crunchy Breakfast Cereal

22 May

My friend Diana gave me a jar of carob molasses to see if i could find a use for it. I love trying out new ingredients and seeing what can be made with them and the runny carob molasses made a most delicious crunchy breakfast cereal or granola. This is a super healthy start to the day; packed with vitamin and mineral rich seeds, nuts and dried fruit as well as slow burn carbs so keeps you going right through till lunch.

  • 500g organic jumbo rolled oats
  • 1.5 – 2 cups of seeds such as sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, linseed and sesame seed
  • 1 cup of nuts almonds, brazil or hazelnuts
  • 4 tbsp runny carob molasses or honey
  • 1 cup dried fruit such as apricots, figs and dates
Mix the oats, seeds and nuts in a large bowl. Drizzle in the molasses or honey and mix well until all the dry ingredients have been coated in the sweet stuff. Spread out on a baking tray (2 trays for this quantity) and bake in a low oven 150c for 20-30 minutes. Take it out at the half way point and give a good stir to make sure the cereal is cooking evenly. Towards the end of cooking keep an eye on it as you don’t want the oats or nuts to burn, which will give it a horrible taste. While it is cooking chop the dried fruit into bite sized bits. Remove from the oven, give it another good stir and leave to cool for a few minutes then stir in the chopped fruit. As the cereal cools the toasted oats and nuts will crisp up. When completely cool and crisp decant into an airtight tin or jar. The granola keeps well for several months.
Variations for an exotic version add dried pineapple, cashews and ribbons of coconut. The next batch I make I will try using rolled barley flakes.

Note 1 cup = 8 tbsp. This quantity makes about 30 portions. Cooking times may vary according to your oven.


6 May

I brought oatcakes back from Scotland on my last visit home but I was really disappointed with the taste of them, they just didn’t taste like the oatcakes I remembered and when I looked on the packet I was amazed to see a string of incomprehensible stuff along with flavourings that, frankly have no right being in an oatcake. Oatcakes, in true Scottish style, are just oats, salt and water and made that way they are a delicious vehicle for all kinds of dips and cheeses. I used to make oatcakes for breakfast at home when I was a student but they were pretty rough, a bit dense not rolled out properly and cooked on the stove top in a crap frying pan. So I asked a friend of ours and gastronome, Peter, who makes the most delicious light and crisp oatcakes for his recipe. Peter described the process as following: simply empty the contents of a packet of porridge oats into a bowl, add water and mix to a dough, leave the dough to rest for half an hour before rolling out thinly then bake in the oven on a large flat baking sheet until golden and crisp. Cool then break into rough cakes.

With Peter’s instructions in my head I set out to make real Scottish oatcakes. The first thing to know is that there is a knack to getting the right consistency. The first batch I made were, by accident, perfect but the second batch was too wet so the dough was a nightmare to roll out and it took longer to bake. What you are aiming for is a dough that is as dry as you can get it whist still being kneadable and flexible enough to roll out. I don’t have quantities just start with the oats and add the water slowly until you have a good consistency. My only addition to Peter’s recipe is to add a little sesame oil, a hangover from my student days, and I still think it improves the texture and the flavour of the oatcakes.

* Oats
* salt
* warm water
* some sesame oil (optional)
Note when Peter first told me the recipe he forgot the say butter. In his cakes he adds butter but as they seem to work perfectly well without it I am reluctant to add it now when the cakes are so light and crisp  but by all means do if you want to experiment.

Put oats, salt and sesame oil in a bowl and add warm water slowly until the oats bind together. Knead lightly in the bowl then cover and leave to rest. On a scrubbed kitchen top scatter a little flour and put the ball of dough or a clump of dough, depending on how much you have made, on the surface and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough, keep turning and flouring to prevent sticking, and when thin enough either take the whole cake or slice into pieces and place on a baking tray. Bake at a warm oven 180c for about 15 minutes or until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Store in an airtight jar.

This recipe was originally posted on on 6/5/2008.

Drop Scones

30 Apr

I had a craving for some old fashioned Scottish cooking and made these for breakfast the other day. Simply delicious served with a slice of cold butter, some jam or a dollop of cream, for breakfast or a mid morning snack with a cup of tea.

225g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
50g vanilla sugar
2 eggs beaten
275ml milk

Sift the flour, bicarb and cream of tartar into a bowl. Add the sugar (use ordinary granulated sugar if you have no vanilla sugar). Stir in the eggs and milk and beat to form a smooth batter. Gently heat a large frying or griddle pan and brush with a little light flavoured vegetable oil. Drop spoonfuls onto the pan, spaced out so they do not touch as they spread. Cook for about 3 minutes or until bubbles start to rise then turn each scone over with a spatula and cook for another minute or so. Serve hot or cold.

To make vanilla sugar simply put a vanilla pod in a jar of sugar and after a couple of weeks the sugar will be infused with the aroma of vanilla. For a stronger tasting vanilla sugar put the pod and sugar in a food processor and whizz until the vanilla is broken up into the sugar. Store in an airtight jar.

Cream of tartar is not something you can find easily in France. My mum brought me a little jar on a visit a while back. If can’t get hold of cream of tartar use double the measure of bicarbonate of soda.

This recipe was originally posted on on 30/4/2007.

Tatti Scones

8 Apr

South of the Scottish border these would be known as potato cakes but I have to call them tatti scones as that is what I was brought up calling them. My sister and niece were visiting last week, from Scotland, so I had a go at making their favourite breakfast. These scones were surprisingly easy to make and they came out tasting just as they should, yummy! I got the recipe from the Glasgow Guide which I’ve only slightly altered.

* 500g potatoes
* 140g plain flour (approx)
* 6 tbsp butter
* 1 tsp salt

Boil the potatoes in a large pan with plenty of water until soft. Drain and mash, add the butter and salt then add enough flour to make a kneadable dough. It needs to be very soft and not too dry, cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Flour a clean work surface and roll out the dough to a flat round about half a centimetre thick. Cut each circle into 4 equal sections. Heat a heavy frying pan, lightly oil and gently fry/griddle the scones in batches, until lightly browned on both sides and cooked right through. Delicious served with bacon, eggs and tomatoes, spread with marmite or just scoffed as they are.

This recipe was originally posted on on 8/4/2008.

Spanish Ham, Eggs & Tomato

23 Nov

When Rachel visited her 80 year old Aunt, Marie Camino, in Spain she came home singing the praises of her cooking and reminiscing on the wonders of her aunts food. This dish in particular stood out and for me too because not only is it delicious but it is also a Spanish version of my favourite English breakfast of Bacon, eggs and tomato. I find it fascinating that people in different parts of the world combine the same ingredients yet create such different dishes with them. It is wonderfully simple and makes a great add hoc snack, breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Fry the ham in olive oil for a few seconds with a little crushed garlic if using, pour over fresh tomato paste (passata) and cook for a minute or two before breaking an egg on top. Cook until the egg has poached and set in the tomato sauce, sprinkle with capers if you like them and serve with slices of bread.

Cooks Note use any dry cured ham for this dish I’ve tried Spanish, Italian and French hams all good, but I do prefer Spanish ham so we always stock up on our visits across the border.

Turkish Scrambled Eggs

15 Nov

This hearty breakfast dish is a speciality of Turkey called menemen. It is scrumptious stuff especially good on cold mornings with a day working outside ahead or for a quick lunch on a winters day. The measurements for this recipe are per person.
Prep 3 mins cook 7 mins

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small green pepper (the long Turkish type are good or Doux d’Espagne).
  • 1 tomato, cored and chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh parsley or 1 tsp Salted Parsley Preserve
  • 1/2 tsp Turkish pepper paste (optional)
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Heat the oil in a small non stick pan, chop the pepper into small chunks and fry in the olive oil until softened. Add the tomato, give it a good stir and wait until the tomato juice boils down. Break the egg into the pan and stir vigorously until all the egg is completely mixed with the peppers and tomato. Add the pepper flakes and paste, if using, and parsley keep stiring and cook for a minute longer and serve with toast or flat bread.